Judging the era of 'mass incarceration'

    Though the U.S. prison population of 1.5 million in 2012 was far larger than that of any other country, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of population, the era of ever-increasing "mass incarceration" is ending.

    The number of state and federal inmates peaked in 2009 and has shrunk consistently thereafter, according to the Justice Department. New prison admissions have fallen annually since 2005.

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