The US Incarceration Rate Went Down a Tiny Bit Again in 2016

Keith Humphreys reminds us today that 2016 prison statistics are now available, and once again the total incarcerated population has declined. That’s good news, but it’s also a good opportunity to show you the long-term incarceration picture:

Between 1980 and 2000, the incarceration rate quadrupled before slowing down and finally peaking in 2008. The incarceration rate has declined 10 percent since then, and while that’s nothing to sneeze at, we have a very long way to go before we get back to anything resembling a sensible rate. We need to cut this in half, to a rate around 4 or 5. After all, our current crime rate is about what it was in the late 60s. There’s no reason our incarceration rate should be much higher.

UPDATE: The top chart originally had the wrong data. The shape was the same, but the numbers were systematically too high. Also it was originally labeled “Rate per 100,000 Non-Elderly Adults.” It’s actually the rate per 1,000.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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