The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prison population. Half of the people in federal prisons were convicted on nonviolent drug charges. The number of nonviolent drug offenders in jails in the U.S. has increased 1,100 percent since 1980. Even though only 14 to 15 percent of drug users in the U.S. are African Americans, they account for 59 percent of those convicted for drug offenses and 74 percent of those sentenced to prison for drug convictions. The U.S. incarcerates African Americans at a rate six times that of South Africa during apartheid (Guardian, July 23).