The United States of America touts itself as the land of the free, but more and more, it looks as if America is the home of the jailed. The American justice system is putting American citizens behind bars in record numbers, and those who are locked up are disproportionately black and brown men.
An article from the New York Times points out that part of the reason for the high incarceration rate has to do with the number of people who are locked up for minor infractions:
Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.