The huge numbers of inmates and housing facilities cost our state and nation millions of dollars a year to house, feed, and to provide medical care. Fortunately, criminal justice reforms have begun to be part of the national conversation as policy makers are beginning to realize the harsh sentencing policies of the 80s and 90s cannot be financially maintained.
The U.S. has more jails and state and federal prisons than it does degree-granting colleges and universities. According to the 2010 census, there were over 2.3 million prisoners in the U.S. that were housed in 1,800 state and federal correctional facilities and 3,200 local and county jails. The census estimates that is slightly more than the number of colleges and universities in the U.S. In fact, the U.S. incarceration rate of 707 adults per every 100,000 residents is the highest in the world by a huge margin.