The Justice Department says the nation’s prison and jail population reached a record 2.3 million people last year. A new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that in the first half of 2007 the growth rate slowed, but prison admissions growth outpaced the number of prison releases, reports ABC News. The inmate total included 2.1 million men and 208,300 women. Black males made up 35.4 percent of inmates, white males 32.9 percent and Hispanic males 17.9 percent.
The United States leads the industrialized world in incarceration. The rate of 762 inmates per 100,000 citizens is five to eight times that of other highly developed countries, according to The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice think tank. Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. Non-U.S. citizens accounted for nearly 8 percent of the jail population at midyear 2007, the report noted. The Sentencing Project estimates that federal, state and local incarceration costs $60 billion per year.