July 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 7

Calculating Economic Losses from Wrongful Incarceration

The number incarcerated in U.S. federal or state prisons remained at or below about 200,000 during the 20th century until the mid-1970s, when incarcerations began dramatically increasing.[1] Shown in Figure 1, by 2008, more than 1.6 million were incarcerated,[2] which is a 700 pecent increase since 1975.[3] After 2009, this number has decreased somewhat,[4] but the United States still has more people in prison than any other country in the world. About 25 percent of the world’s prison population is in the U.S.[5]

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