A Mother Jones interactive project chronicles and quantifies "the explosive growth of America's inmate population." The online series depicts the economic and social costs of prisons, and includes a database on states' prison population and prison spending. The first part explains why America became the world's leading jailer, and looks at the paradoxical growth of the incarceration rate over the past decades when the crime rate was declining. The reporters find that "the soaring number of nonviolent drug offenders" and increases in sentencing are behind the expansion of prisons. The second part discovers that "prisons are rife with infectious illnesses - and threaten to spread them to the public." The third story examines the influence of jail sentences on inmates' inclination to violence after being released. The fourth part looks at the social costs for children who have a parent behind bars. The fifth article explains various alternatives for society to respond to lawbreakers without locking them up. The sixth part reveals that spending on a domestic anti-drug war is ineffective. The seventh article finds that "mass incarceration comes at a moral cost to every American."