"The United States has adopted a set of criminal justice policies that has produced a tidal wave of imprisonment in this country. Between 1970 and 2005, the number of men, women, and children locked up in this country has grown by an historically unprecedented 700%. As a result, the United States locks up almost a quarter of the prisoners in the entire world. In fact, if all our prisoners were confined in one city, that city would be the fourth largest in the country."
Alexander, Elizabeth, "Michigan Breaks the Political Logjam: A New Model for Reducing Prison Populations," American Civil Liberties Union (November 2009), p. 3.