For over a quarter century the U.S. political system has dodged and weaved its way around one of the great scandals of our times — the mass incarceration of millions of its citizens.
But in all the theatrics and thunder of recent political debate barely a peep has been heard about the astonishing 2,284,000 Americans currently behind bars or why an unprecedented six million are under "correctional supervision," meaning in prison or on parole or probation.
Indeed, some argue that the number snared in the U.S. criminal justice system even surpasses those condemned to Stalin's gulag prison empire at its height.
No nation on Earth locks up more people than the U.S., which incarcerates at a rate seven times that of other developed nations. The U.S. has less than five per cent of the world's population, but it has 23 per cent of those behind bars around the globe.