Speed Reads

Prison Reform

The BBC asks why so many Americans are in prison, persuasively blames War on Drugs

Since commuting the sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders on Monday, President Obama has devoted this week to highlighting problems in America's criminal justice system. BBC News decided to take a look, too. More than 1.5 million Americans are in jail, the highest prison population in the world, the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan says in the resulting video, and more than half of federal inmates are nonviolent drug offenders. Reining in the War on Drugs has some bipartisan support, in part because it costs about $31,000 a year to house each inmate. Vaidyanathan's graph of the U.S. prison population since 1925 is pretty stunning, and you can see it in the video below. Peter Weber