Seventeen years ago today, Oct. 27, 1994, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the nation prison population had topped 1 million for the first time, notes the Washington Examiner. That number more than doubled by 2009 to about 2.3 million adults in federal and state prisons and county jails, says the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Another 5 million people were on probation or parole. There were another 87,000 juvenile in juvenile detention. Of the 2.3 million adults behind bars, more than 2 million were male. About 785,000 were white, 905,000 were black and 475,000 were Hispanic. The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but it has almost a quarter of the prisoners.