Behind Bars

Will Prisons Be Less Crowded?

The United States locks up more people than any other country, but could see a decline in its prison population for the first time since the 1960s, the Associated Press reports. With the economy putting the screws on states, state governments are now rethinking whom they put in the big house and the costs that accompany that decision. This year saw 0.8 percent growth in American prison populations, off from an average of 6.5 percent in the 1990s, and the smallest increase this decade. Two factors adding room to America's prisons: Iraq and Afghanistan. "People who go to war are young men, and young men are the most likely to get arrested or prosecuted," says one industry researcher.