Speed Reads

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The United States has more jails than colleges

In addition to having the highest incarceration rate in the world, the United States also holds the dubious distinction of having more correctional facilities than degree-granting colleges and universities. There are about 1,800 federal and state prisons and 3,200 local jails, which together outnumber the approximately 4,600 colleges nationwide.

In some places, the ratio is significantly more skewed: Lexington County, S.C., for example, has 15 correctional facilities for each degree-granting college. While the prison population is on the decline for the first time in years, a new report suggests colleges are on the decline in a less promising way: The average college freshman reads at a seventh-grade level.