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The Real Price of Prisons There are more people behind bars in the United States today than ever before. Since 1980, the inmate population has more than quadrupled to two million -- an unprecedented explosion that is incurring unprecedented costs to all Americans.
How We Got to Two Million
How did the Land of the Free become the world's leading jailer?
Incubating Disease
Prisons are rife with infectious illnesses -- and threaten to spread them to the public.
Bad Investment
Gary Johnson, Republican governor of New Mexico, on why the war on drugs is a waste of money.
INCARCERATION ATLAS
Click the map for a state-by-state guide to who's getting locked up -- and at what price.

What's the Alternative?
Society has to respond to lawbreakers, but it doesn't always have to lock them up.

Breeding Violence
Locking people up is supposed to make our streets safer, but it may be doing the opposite.
Left Behind
Hundreds of thousands of children have a parent behind bars. What are the social costs of their loss?
Liberty and Justice for Some
Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. on the moral costs of mass incarceration.
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