Another interesting aspect of the AP story in the Washington Post on the rise of the US prison population was the way the lede was phrased: "America's prison population grew again in 2002 despite a declining crime rate…." Perhaps a more accurate formulation would have been: "America's crime rate declined because the prison population grew again in 2002…."
I hasten to add that locking up scores of thousands of nonviolent drug users is not only a waste money, it is an injustice.
[Thanks to D.A. Ridgely for the link]