According the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 7,225,800 people were on probation, in prison or on parole in 2009. This number represents 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population. Of this number, 2,297,400 were behind bars. The United States has the most number of prisoners in the world. This number has grown by nearly a factor of 5 since 1980. This growth has been mostly due to the War on Drugs which sends people to prison for nearly any drug offense. The other concern is the financial impact as it cost $22,632 in 2002 per year to imprison a single inmate. Lately it appears every federal and state tax dollar is being cut which either means more prisoners will have to be released early or more inmates will have to be crowded into smaller and smaller cells. In either case this situation will not end well unless the government helps inmates prepare for their new lives. I'm not certain if I have a lot of hope for these inmates as it's so difficult to find a job today. Some of these people may commit new crimes just so they can go back to prison in order to have a warm bed and a roof over their head.
My favorite story so far would have to be Segundo Mugarra, Basque sheepherder. Segundo in my mind is a happy guy. He herds sheep and lives in isolation. What gets to me is he happy. He seems like a minimalist and does what he loves. This outlook of being content with one’s life is something I believe we all try to achieve.