Despite drops in crime, the number of prisoners in the US has continued to increase. The US locks up more people per capita than any other country; we are 5% of the world population with 25% of the world’s prisoners. The number of people in prison has quadrupled since 1980, currently roughly 1 in every 100 adults.
Prison spending now costs states an estimated $80 billion annually, or $260 per resident. In at least 40 states, more is spent annually to imprison an individual than to educate an elementary/secondary student. The following chart can be found at CNN Money.