USA: Number of Prisoners Now Exceeds High School Teachers and Engineers

If sitting in a prison cell was a job, it would be one of the most common jobs in the United States. In 2012, there were some 1,570,000 inmates in state and federal prisons in the U.S., according to data from the Justice Department.

By contrast, there were about 1,530,000 engineers in America last year, 815,000 construction workers, and 1 million high school teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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To be clear, some occupations are much bigger than the prison population: More than 4 million Americans worked in retail sales last year, and more than 6 million served food and drinks.

Still, the Justice Department’s prison number doesn’t include inmates who are incarcerated in county or city jails.

That number is hard to come by, since counties and cities keep their own records and don’t report to a central authority.

A few years ago, even more people were locked up.

But states around the country have begun pulling back from the sentencing policies that characterized the war on drugs, and the prison population has declined by about 45,000 inmates from its peak in 2009, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Even so, there are nearly five times as many people in prison as there were in 1980, when the drug war was just getting underway.

“Nearly half of the inmates filling our federal prisons are incarcerated for drug offenses,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said in a statement last week.

Labrador and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) recently teamed up to introduce the latest legislation aimed at reforming the country’s sentencing laws, joining Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and others from both sides of the partisan divide.

“Granting federal judges more discretion in sentencing for nonviolent drug offenses is the right thing to do,” Scott said in a statement.

“Studies of mandatory minimums conclude that they fail to reduce crime, they waste the taxpayers’ money, and they often require the imposition of sentences that violate common sense.”

 | HuffPo

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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Joseph McIntosh

    Where is the big story I just wrote to post, are you guys like the police, erase all the evidence, seriously where is the story I wrote??

  • freeychromosome

    I don’t believe there are more engineers than construction labourers. Simply not true.
    To become an engineer requires considerable investment in education.

    • Adam Brian

      Lol you don’t. Why not. You know America has a service economy. What construction in America is being done anyway. Everywhere I look all I see is dilapidation.

      • Adam Brian

        Oh yea I forgot to add that maybe if the judges and county prosecutors and defense attorneys etc…. Could get the laws changed to use the prison workers to do construction on the for profit prisons that they have stock invested into they would. Oh yeah you probably don’t know that either. Prison for profit is the most common theme in America but this story will take another fifty times hundred years before it is told. It is basically today’s peonage but I bet you haven’t heard of that either.

        • No need to get any laws changed to use prisoners as slave labor! It’s already lawful to do so in the USA. Read the 13th Amendment if you doubt me.

  • Tony420

    in 2011 the amount of prisoners was 2,019,234 why in china is in a second place at a meager 1,549,000…

    • Adam Brian

      China is in second place cause they are to busy doing construction of cities that no one lives in. Lol

  • Adam Brian

    Well of course these facts are misleading. So if you add the other people in city jails and county you can add another couple of million people. Add people on probation or parole ten million more. Add convicted felons and add people who have just had to go to court and bet if you include only the immediate family members of those people you would have now affected half the nation. I bet this is more of the fact and this is why you see the uprising against police and government. I guess you have to lock people up by the millions to create the labor force that produces over 10 thousand goods and services in America. No inmates just don’t make license plates anymore. Inmates train dogs for police forces inmates even work for the federal government military now on defense department components. I guess how else can you make a fundamentalist Christian new world order military without slavery. Well there would be no way. Lol dummies.

    • ” this is why you see the uprising against police and government ”

      I’m sorry, you see an uprising? All I see is bitching.