Inside the Americas – U.S. Leads in Mass Incarceration

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With 5% of the world’s population the United States has 25% of the world’s prisoners. Over the last 40 years, a tremendous growth in mass incarceration has been fueled by factors including the “War on Drugs,” longer and harsher sentences, privatization, and an emphasis on punishment instead of rehabilitation. Racial disparities are rife. Out of 2.2 million people behind bars, 60% are of racial or ethnic minorities, with the black community in particular being heavily criminalized. President Barack Obama has recently recognized some of the shortcomings of the system and called for changes. teleSUR