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The Punishing Decade (3/00)

America’s imprisoned population grew at a faster rate during the 1990s than during any decade in recorded history, according to new data released by the Justice Policy Institute. The US entered the 1990s with 1,145,300 inmates in its jails and prisons, and on December 31, 1999, there will be an estimated 1,983,084 adults behind bars. The Institute estimates that America’s incarcerated population will top 2 million on approximately February 15, 2000.

The prison growth during the 1990s dwarfed the growth of any previous decade; it exceeded the prison growth of the 1980s by 61 percent, and is nearly 30 times the average prison population growth of any decade prior to the 1970s. read more