America's Enormous Prison Population Got Even Bigger


The U.S. Attorney General has been making headlines talking about the need for "smarter" sentencing and fewer people behind bars.

But most of those who are incarcerated are doing time under state laws, and that point was driven home by a new report this week that shows our prison population is still growing.

The report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that, despite the federal prison population declining for the first time by 0.9 percent in 2013, the overall prison population increased slightly by 4,300 prisoners, or 0.3 percent.

That's because of an influx of 6,300 people into state prisons, a 0.5 percent increase from 2012.

That's a small increase, but it breaks the pattern, which began in 2009, of the overall U.S. prison population shrinking each year. It's also in the context of America being the prison capital of the world, with 1,574,700 inmates locked up across the country.