U.S. Has More Prisoners than High School Teachers, Physicians, Surgeons

| by Michael Allen

The U.S. is notorious worldwide for its huge prison population, which is larger than China's, percentage-wise.

The Washington Post reported in August than one out of every 100 American adults are behind bars, which is more than four times the number back in 1980.

Since 1998, the main reasons for more Americans being locked up are drug offenses and mandatory sentencing laws, which were supposed to "get tough on crime."

Now, The Huffington Post reports there are more Americans in jail than in numerous professions, such as high school teachers, engineers, construction workers, nursing assistants, social workers and physicians/surgeons.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were about 1,570,000 inmates in state and federal prisons in 2012.

In contrast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states there were 1,530,000 engineers, 815,000 construction workers and 1,047,550 high school teachers in the same year.

There were also 1,420, 020 nursing assistants, 611, 650 physicians/surgeons and 582,270 social workers in 2012; all topped by inmates.

In response to this mass incarceration, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) have co-sponsored a bill that would reform sentencing laws.

"Granting federal judges more discretion in sentencing for nonviolent drug offenses is the right thing to do," Rep. Scott said on his website. "Studies of mandatory minimums conclude that they fail to reduce crime, they waste the taxpayers' money, and they often require the imposition of sentences that violate common sense."

Sources:, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post