According to the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College in
Groups advocating reform of
"We now imprison more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe, with a much larger population, incarcerates for all offences."
Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group advocating sentencing reform, said the
MORE PEOPLE TO PRISON
"We send more people to prison, for more different offences, for longer periods of time than anybody else," he said.
Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.
Commenting on what the prison figures show about U.S. society, King said various social programs, including those dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health care and child care, have failed.
"There are a number of social programs we have failed to deliver. There are systemic failures going on," he said. "A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice system."
Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in
"The hand-wringing over the incarceration rate is missing the mark," he said.
Scheidegger said the high prison population reflected cultural differences, with the
Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice
Department report and said drug offenders are clogging the