Trends in U.S. Corrections
Date:  09-06-2020

Updated fact sheet states changes in policy and laws, not increase crime rates are responsible for 500% increase in people in prisons and jails
From The Sentencing Project:

This fact sheet, updated August 2020, provides a compilation of key developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.

MASS INCARCERATION

The United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's prisons and jails — a 500% increase over the last forty years. Changes in sentencing law and policy, not changes in crime rates, explain most of this increase. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and fiscal burdens on states to accommodate a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not an effective means of achieving public safety.

Read the pdf here.