"The Hidden Realities of U.S. Incarceration"

Some information here I did not know.

The truth, by contrast, is that about half of prisoners were convicted of violent offenses, and that some of the others committed violence but pleaded guilty to lesser offenses. Even the fifth of prisoners who are locked up for drugs tend to be mid-level dealers, not users or low-level distributors. And, while decades-long sentences make the news, most prisoners who committed crimes not involving the most serious violence are out within a year or two. In other words, while incarceration has undoubtedly soared—even relative to crime, which has dropped substantially since the early 1990s—our propensity to throw people in prison has simply not reached the heights of ridiculousness that many assume.