The United States Has More Prisons Than Colleges

January 12, 2015


U.S. Incarcerates 707 Adults Per Every 100,000 Residents

One of the functions of our judicial system is to get criminals off the street. The court system in America has done its best to achieve that goal. There are over 2.3 million people behind bars in the U.S., and those numbers keep growing at an alarming rate. Our national incarcerate rate is the highest in the world, but that fact doesn’t matter to would be criminals. Our system is designed to lock them up not rehabilitate them so they can function in this society.

Some legislators say we passed the line of sanity when we have more prisons that colleges, but that’s what our social system looks like these days. We have over 5,000 more prisons than degree-granting universities and colleges.

In the South, there are more people living in prisons than on college campuses. In Cumberland County, Pa., which has a population 235,000 there are 41 correctional facilities but only seven colleges. And in Lexington County, S.C. prisons outnumber colleges 15-to-1. Prisoners are everywhere in the U.S. Almost 85 percent of U.S. counties are home to a number of incarcerated individuals. Local governments spend thousands of dollars per prisoner each year, but the cycle of crime continues. But criminal justice reform has become a focal point in the political arena according to Christopher Cowdray. Republicans and Democrats are trying to find ways to change policies and scale back the incarceration rate that increased the prison population during the ’80s and ’90s.

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