BOSTON — A new report has found that the US holds the largest prison population in the world, with more than 10,000 inmates in state and federal facilities.
The report, released Monday by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that about 5.5% of inmates in the country are serving time for a crime, including the most serious charges, such as murder and rape.
The other 85% are serving sentences for drug-related offenses.
The bureau found that while the US prison population peaked in 1990, it has fallen by roughly half since then.
More than half the prisoners in US prisons are African-American, while Hispanics make up roughly three-quarters of the total.
The data, from the bureau’s Uniform Crime Report, is a snapshot of the country’s prisons.
The numbers are not a measure of the population, however.
The US prison system is still very much under-resourced.
According to the report, there are currently 1,842 people in federal facilities in the United States, and 1,932 in state prisons.
The report found that blacks are more likely to be incarcerated than whites.
Black males are 2.9 times more likely than white males to be imprisoned, while Hispanic males are 4.3 times more so.
Hispanics are 2 to 1 over whites, with Latinos more than twice as likely to have been incarcerated as whites.
About 9% of the US population is Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau.
Blacks make up about 13% of that number, with Hispanics making up the other 25% of those imprisoned.
“The US prison regime is a stain on American history, culture and values,” said ACLU deputy legal director Amy Goldstein.
“The fact that the government is holding so many Americans in prison shows that the system is broken, and the American people deserve better.”
The bureau’s findings underscore the need to reform the federal criminal justice system.
In the past decade, more than 5,600 inmates have been convicted of federal crimes, according a review by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
About 300 of those inmates are in federal prison, according the report.
In addition, more people have been sentenced to prison for drug crimes, a category that includes both drug- and sex-related crimes.