The Nation: Increasing the Lockup

For those who believe that prison is the surest antidote to crime, the news last week was good. It gave others pause, however, when Corrections magazine reported that as 1976 began, 249,538 people were behind bars in the U.S. — the highest number of federal and state inmates in history. The total has been rising slowly since 1967, when it stood at 195,000, and last year's jump of 24,000 was the largest on record. Every state showed a rise except California, whose prison population dropped 20% because of new parole guidelines.

Elsewhere totals climbed not only because crime and the number...

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