It was back in 1994 when the prison population in the United States topped one million for the first time in American history. That figure included state and federal prisons. But, if you added in prisoners in local city, town and village jails, you’d have to bump that figure up another half million.

In just over 15 years that figure grew to more than 2.3-million prisoners making this country number one in producing prisoners. To give you a better idea of how that ranks with the rest of the world – the United States has five percent of the world’s population but has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. China has four times more population than us, but their prison population stands at about 1.6 million.

What’s interesting is that a number of countries have higher annual prison admission rates, but the U-S by far has the harshest sentences especially for drug crimes. That means prisoners are serving longer sentences and growing the prison population.

Even though African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population, they make up more than half of America’s prison population. Most prisoners are in jail because of drug-related convictions. Of the nearly 3-thousand prisoners on death row, 42-percent were African American.

Maine has the lowest ratio of prisoners per population. The state with the highest? Louisiana.