The average person who has no experience with the incarcerated population just doesn’t even think about it really until they’re impacted by it.
— Laura Bowman Salzsieder, 1000 Mile Club founder

The Issues

With 2.2 million men, women and juveniles behind bars, the United States incarcerates more people than anywhere in the world. But we also release them – about 90% are eventually set free. However with little to no support after their release, 76.6% of those released are re-arrested within 5 years. What are the root causes of recidivism? What is the relationship between recidivism and access to programs, like the running club? What impact does running have on the lives of current and former inmates? These are some of the questions 26.2 to Life aims to address.

There are those who believe that programs like the running club coddle inmates and that prisoners should not have access to them. A life-long conservative, Head Coach Frank Ruona has become more attuned to the US prison system over the years volunteering at San Quentin and now finds himself questioning how we as a society treat those who are incarcerated. Is the aim of incarceration punishment or rehabilitation?

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Mass Incarceration:

Over 2.2 million are incarcerated in the US, more than the top 35 European nations combined.

The US has less than 5% of the world’s population and around 25% of its prison population.




70% of people in American jails have not been convicted of a crime.

Over 60% of people in American jails are there because they cannot afford bail. 

between 1990 and 2009, the number of those arrested required to post bail increased from 37% to 61%

The bail-bonds industry profits around 2 billion dollars every year.



90% of those incarcerated are eventually set free.

Over 75% of released state prisoners are re-arrested within 5 years.

Inmates who have participated in correctional education programs have had 43% lower odds of returning to prison.



Solitary Confinement:

The federal prison system keeps around 8% of inmates in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. 

Reasons for solitary confinement can range from disciplinary action to protection. Inmates with hits on them or who identify as LGBTQ can find themselves in solitary as a protective measure. 

long term solitary confinement causes a dramatic increase in rates of mental illness, depression, and self harm. 

Some inmates have been placed in solitary confinement for over 20 years. 


Racial Disparities:

African Americans and Hispanics make up around 32% of the US population, yet over 55% of those incarcerated.

African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.

If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rate as whites there would be 40% fewer people in prison and jail. 




Over half of state prisoners and up to 90% of jail detainees suffer from drug dependence.

74% of prisoners and 62% of jail inmates were overweight, obese or morbidly obese.