Parole and probation sends hundreds of thousands of people back to prison

About a quarter of people behind bars in the U.S. on any given day are there for violating parole or probation, often times because of technical violations such as missing supervision appointments or failing a drug test, according to new data collected by The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG).

Data: The Council of State Governments Justice Center; Table: Harry Stevens/Axios

Special report: Profiting from prison

Illustration of an inmate with a barcode on the back of his uniform
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A handful of American businesses have their fingers in almost every aspect of prison life, raking in billions of dollars every year for products and services — often with little oversight.

The big picture: Taxpayers, incarcerated people and their families spend around $85 billion a year on public and private correction facilities, bail and prison services, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.