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Stats on Incarceration in America

A 2010 report conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts revealed the following statistics about incarceration rates in the United States:

  • 2.3 million Americans are behind bars, equaling more than 1 in 100 adults. That marks a 300 percent increase since 1980.
  • The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world (Russia is a distant second).
  • In 2008, the number of inmates in America was larger than the populations of Atlanta, Boston, Kansas City, and Seattle combined.
  • One in 87 working-aged white men, 1 in 36 Hispanic men; and 1 in 12 African American men are currently in jail or prison.
  • More young (20 to 34-year-old) African American men without a high school diploma or GED are currently behind bars (37 percent) than employed (26 percent).
  • 54 percent of inmates are parents with minor children, including more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers.
  • 27 million children have a parent behind bars—that's 1 in every 28 children.
  • One in 9 African American children has a parent who is incarcerated.

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Prison Ministry, Incarceration—This illustration offers a powerful motivation for any church's involvement in prison ministry. (2) Race, Racism, Social Justice—It also highlights some of the glaring issues of race and social justice in our prison system.

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