Record-High Ratio Of Americans In Prison

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults found themselves behind bars.

That’s according to a new report tracking the surge in inmate population.

The Pew Center on the States, using updated state-by-state data, says 2.3 million adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008. That’s one out of every 99.1 adults.

According to the report, the inmate population increased last year in 36 states and the federal prison system.

The Pew Center says the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year. That’s up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The report says the rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending.

The report urges states to rein in corrections costs with alternative sentencing programs.