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Louisiana was America’s prison capital

With almost 40,000 people behind bars, the Pelican State had the highest incarceration rate in the United States. The state has seen a dramatic increase in its prison population over the past twenty years, in part because of mandatory minimum sentencing laws that results in a growing number of nonviolent offenders serving long prison terms without benefit of parole.

Is Louisiana an outlier in its use of “life without parole” sentences? View our handout.
Are Louisiana’s longest prison terms out of step with other Southern states? Read our fact sheet.