This number does not include detainees in secret prison camps, Guantanamo Bay and those immigrants who were rounded up after 911 who haven't been seen since. It doesn't include those felons who lost the right to vote even after they served their sentences.
"Today's figures fail to capture incarceration's impact on the thousands of children left behind by mothers in prison," Marc Mauer, the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group supporting criminal justice reform, said in a statement. "Misguided policies that create harsher sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are disproportionately responsible for the increasing rates of women in prisons and jails."Prison labor is big business in America, as detailed in THIS POST from LastChocolateCity.com, second in employees only to General Motors. And prison is an economic engine for many a small rural town.
Until something is done about the disparity of wealth, the failure of the US educational system and the war on drugs, the number of people in US prisons will rise.