Artists invited the inmates at Illinois’s Tamms supermax prison to request one image of anything in the world, real or imagined—and then they photographed it. Like this photograph of a prisoner’s aunt’s house.
In 1980, fewer than 500,000 Americans were in prison; today, the number is 2.3 million. To put that statistic in perspective, the median incarceration rate among all countries is 125 prisoners for every 100,000 people. In England, it’s 153; Germany, 89; Japan, a mere 63. In America, it’s 743, by far the highest in the world. Include all the U.S. residents currently on probation or parole, and our country’s correctional population soars to about 7.2 million—roughly one in every 31 Americans. All told, the U.S. incarcerates nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, even though it’s home to only 5 percent of the world’s inhabitants.
That’s Newsweek’s Andrew Romano, writer of this week’s profile of Jim Webb and his “crusade” to reform the criminal-justice system.