incarceration rate:
employment ratio:
adults w/ degrees:
note: the sim needs to run for a minute before metrics can be shown.

Schools & Prisons

[a very early prototype]

The United States has 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prisoners. That's, uh, kind of embarassing.

But it's hard to see the full context of such a huge systemic problem. So, I've taken the national statistics on age, race, education, income, crime, etc... and made a simulation that connects all these factors together:

click start →

Every "person" in this simulation has their own life story, and carries their history with them. People with a black outline have a criminal record, and the squares they have (or don't have) are their high school/college diplomas.

This simulation creates 100 stories per minute.

click any person to focus on their story →

By combining systems, stories & statistics, maybe we can get a better idea on how to tackle our mass incarceration problem! This simulation will show us that injustice is not the cause of a bad system, it's the result.

Inside The System

This simulation is based off the real national statistics for low-income boys & men. (other demographics get caught up in the criminal justice system too, of course, but this group is the most at-risk)

The statistics determine how likely a person is to move from one box to another. Here are those stats, with sources attached! You can also modify the given numbers/probabilities. This lets you challenge my assumptions, or use a different dataset... and for you to make & simulate your own policies!

(You see the metrics underneath the simulation? And the gray "range" bars on them? Those are the simulation's usual results, when you don't change the numbers. Those range bars are there for you to see what effect your "policy" has — if the metrics move out of those ranges, you've had an effect!)

* stats for age, race, nonviolent crime
* link sources (mostly &

For each year I'm in high school, I have...
And if I graduate, I've got...

For each year I'm in college, I have...

My chances of getting a job depend on my level of education: But if I'm an ex-felon...
Also, for each year I'm unemployed...

While I'm employed, each year I have...

If I go to prison...
And when/if I get out, my chances of returning to prison are...

In tackling mass incarceration, or any big systemic problem, there is no silver bullet — and that's a good thing. That means, there are many, many ways to help, not just directly within policy or prisons, but also schools, businesses, and local communities.

We're all part of the system, for better or worse.

What D'ya Think?

Everything here is super rough, but I just wanted to run a first draft by you!

What did you think about it? What's missing, what should be taken out? What did you like most, what did you like least? And why?

I don't just want people to "learn" about the topic, I want people to be able to actually use this thing: to evaluate/design policies, to use their own city's data, to figure out what one can personally do to change the system.

So yeah, whatever feedback you gots will help a mega-tonne. Thank you so much! :)