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The U.S. is Num­ber One. Amer­i­ca is first in the world in hav­ing 2.3 mil­lion peo­ple behind bars. They are held in state pris­ons, fed­er­al pris­ons, coun­ty jails, juve­nile cor­rec­tion­al facil­i­ties and oth­er lock­ups. The prison indus­tri­al com­plex costs state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ments bil­lions of dol­lars annu­al­ly. Every year, over 600,000 peo­ple go to prison. Yet mass incar­cer­a­tion has not been a deter­rent to crime, nor reduced soci­etal prob­lems of pover­ty and racism that dri­ve tens of thou­sands of peo­ple to jails and pris­ons annu­al­ly. It has even been argued that our penal sys­tem actu­al­ly exac­er­bates soci­etal prob­lems. The move­ment for abo­li­tion, with its proud his­to­ry of chal­leng­ing slav­ery, should be applied today to the abo­li­tion of pris­ons. Ruth Wil­son Gilmore says abo­li­tion is not just about clos­ing pris­ons. She urges us to address the prob­lems that make us the incar­cer­a­tion nation.”