Prisons: Running Out of Room

Running Out of Room

The good news: criminals are going to jail in record numbers. The bad news: the prisons are already full. So concludes the Justice Department, which last week reported that as of December 1985, 503,601 people are now behind bars, 53% more than were incarcerated in 1980. Mandatory sentencing laws have prompted the increase, says a Justice Department expert. But this swelling tide has filled many U.S. prisons beyond capacity. Last year the lack of available cells forced corrections officials in 19 states to grant 18,617 prisoners early release.


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