The Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., is located in a remote corner of the Adirondack Mountains. For years, it's been dogged with allegations of violence and corruption among its officers. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Law enforcement personnel take cover Friday afternoon after cornering two escaped prisoners off of Route 30 in Malone, N.Y. One prisoner, Richard Matt, was shot dead by law enforcement. Authorities were still searching for escapee David Sweat late Friday night. Matthew Healey/UPI/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Matthew Healey/UPI/Landov

Two men sit inside the chapel at Halden prison in far southeast Norway in this picture taken in 2010. Prisoners here spend 12 hours a day in their cells, compared to many U.S. prisons where inmates spend all but one hour in their cell. STR/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption STR/Reuters/Landov

In December, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio met with youth offenders at alternative housing on Rikers Island. A new state proposal would spare teens younger than 18 from serving time in adult prisons. Susan Watts/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

itoggle caption Susan Watts/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Latandra Ellington, 36, was serving time for tax fraud at Lowell Correctional Institution when she died. Florida Department of Corrections hide caption

itoggle caption Florida Department of Corrections

Corrections officer Sgt. Charles Galaviz secures an inmate for transfer with handcuffs and shackles Jan. 24 at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center, in Lexington, Okla. Overtime is mandatory for correctional officers in the state's prisons, which have a manpower shortage of about 33 percent and the highest inmate homicide rate in the country. Sue Ogrocki/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Sue Ogrocki/AP

A Los Angeles County Department of Public Health worker shows condoms for weekly distribution to inmates in the Men's Central Jail. George Lavender hide caption

itoggle caption George Lavender

The hepatitis C medication Sovaldi, from Gilead Sciences, costs $1,000 per pill. It's just one of the new medications introduced in the past year that can cure the disease within weeks or months. Courtesy of Gilead Sciences via AP hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Gilead Sciences via AP

An inmate at Rikers Island juvenile detention facility carries a plastic fork behind his back as he walks with other inmates. A recent report found that juvenile detainees are subjected to routine violence, both by other inmates and by correction officers. Julie Jacobson/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Julie Jacobson/AP

In the past year, the U.S. prison population fell by roughly 4,800, the first time in decades the number has gone down, according to the Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the findings in New York on Tuesday. Julio Cortez/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Julio Cortez/AP

Dan Huff rests after a long day's work. He spent much of his life incarcerated in the California prison system. Now, he lives in drug- and alcohol-free transitional housing in Portland, Ore. Beth Nakamura for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Beth Nakamura for NPR

Inmates from several Alabama state prisons take a math class at J.F. Ingram State Technical College. The campus becomes a medium-security facility when the students arrive. Dan Carsen/WBHM hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Carsen/WBHM

Hope House campers wear tie-dye shirts they made to the last day of camp at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md. Shereen Marisol Meraji/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Shereen Marisol Meraji/NPR

Danny Trejo's big break came about partly because of a prison tattoo on his chest, depicting a woman wearing a sombrero. Thanks to that distinctive mark, a screenwriter recognized him as a champion boxer. Carlos Jasso/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Carlos Jasso/AP

Inmate dormitories at Louisiana State Penitentiary, like this one photographed in July 2011, have heating in the winter and cooling by fans and open windows in the summer, but no air conditioning. A judge ruled earlier this year that that constituted cruel and unusual punishment, but installation is on hold pending a state appeal. Scott Threlkeld/The Times-Picayune/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Threlkeld/The Times-Picayune/Landov

Marquise Lamberto Frescobaldi (right), of the winemaking dynasty, talks with prisoners Brian Baldissin (left) and Francesco Papa at his vineyard on Gorgona island in June 2013. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters/Landov

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in downtown Lafayette, La. By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, but sentencing reformers have loosened some of the state's mandatory minimum sentences and made parole slightly easier to get. Denny Culbert for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Denny Culbert for NPR