Record Number of Americans in Prison This is just plain scary to consider that roughly 1% of the population of the US is incarcerated. Part of this problem has arisen from mandatory sentencing laws for relatively minor offenses. Arizona’s mandatory sentencing laws, for example, have resulted in prison sentences for non-violent drug abusers, property crimes, and DUIs. While I fully support criminals being held to account for their crimes, for some cases there are viable (and cheaper) alternatives to try first before incarceration: electronic tagging, community service, drug and alcohol rehabilitation for substance abusers, mandatory reparations for property crimes, and loss of license and permanent seizure of all vehicles owned by non-fatal or non-injuring DUI offenders are but just a few examples. On other words, better sentencing laws that return common sense and reason to the courts and juries. This is obviously not an easy issue to resolve, but it is one that Americans need to look at seriously and question how and why the situation has arisen.