Some poor schmuck has just become our nation's two millionth inmate. I'm willing to bet there was no prize for this distinction.
This article contains a truly puzzling segment:
In a one-day head count conducted June 30, 2002, the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government held 1,355,748 prisoners, accounting for two-thirds of the nation's incarcerated population, according to the annual survey by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics. Local, municipal and county facilities nationwide held 665,475 inmates on that day.
Statisticians at the agency, which has been tracking the nation's prison population since 1977, had acknowledged it was only a matter of time before this benchmark was reached. But underlying the decades-long growth trend is a twist: The federal prison numbers are rising rapidly, but the growth rate in state prisons is slowing. While the federal prison system expanded by 5.7 percent between 2001 and 2002 -- adding 8,042 inmates -- state prisons grew by just 0.9 percent, or 12,440 new inmates. The rate of increase among the federal prison population has outpaced the states' since 1995.
The federal government accounted for more inmates than any state, with almost 162,000, according to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of the Justice Department. That number includes the transfer of about 8,900 District of Columbia prisoners to the federal system.