According to a new report, more than 1% of the U.S. population is behind bars -- the highest percentage ever recorded. The flood of prisoners is causing major funding problems for many communities and state governments.
"Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 - one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it's more than any other nation."
"The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said."
"The steadily growing inmate population 'is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime,' the report said."