Business Insider has put together a set of charts and maps that are enough to make even the most ardent reformers in the criminal justice system, as well as those who are still on the fence about meaningful reform, smack their heads in dismay. Those working toward criminal justice reform and successful reentry are familiar with the multitude of flaws in the system, but the maps and charts seem to jump up off the page and point to the need to make changes swiftly even more crucial.
There are nine sections that include maps or charts in the Business Insider report, with each focusing on a different topic. Business Insider presents the topics as:
Recidivism of prisoners released in 30 states in 2005, by the time from release to first arrest that led to recidivating event.
The prison population is aging quickly, and older inmates cost prisons more because they require more care and medical treatment.
The US prison population has ballooned throughout the past few decades, since the war on drugs began.
This growth in inmate population has made the US the world leader in prisoners per capita, with the exception of the tiny African country of Seychelles.
The number of executions has grown along with the prison population.
U.S. Prison Population by offense.
The annual cost of incarceration is high: about $29,000 per federal inmate. An interactive graphic from Texas lawyer David Breston shows that the taxpayer cost for the total inmate population could number in the millions for some states.
Many states spend more on prisons than they do on higher education.
The prison system isn't exactly fair, either. There are significant racial disparities in prisons, and the gap has been growing since 1960.
See the charts and maps here.