#Stats : U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens

In 1980, the U.S. only had 150 prisoners per 100,000 citizens

Fareed Zakaria in Business Insider reports:
There are now more Americans in jail — 6 million — than there were in Stalin’s Gulag

This statement is a bit misleading, because…

Approximately 14 million people passed through the Gulag “labour camps” from 1929 to 1953. A further 6-7 million were deported and exiled to remote areas of the USSR, and 4-5 million passed through “labour colonies”. The total population of the camps varied from 510,307 in 1934 to 1,727,970 in 1953

How does that compare to other countries?

It’s 7X-10X as high:
>> Japan has 63 per 100,000,
>> Germany has 90 per 100,000
>> France has 96 per 100,000
>> South Korea has 97 per 100,000
>> ­Britain has 153 per 100,000

Rates in Wikipedia are slightly different:
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world (743 per 100,000 population), Russia has the second highest rate (577 per 100,000), followed by Rwanda (561 per 100,000). As of year-end 2009 the USA rate was 743 adults incarcerated in prisons and jails per 100,000 population. At year-end 2007 the United States had less than 5% of the world’s population and 23.4% of the world’s prison and jail population (adult inmates)

Infographic: World Prison Population Rates per 100,000 of the national population

BBC News : World Prison Poulations

Nation Master: Crime Statistics > Prisoners > Per capita (most recent) by country

Each of these sources present different rates. My question: Is the incarceration rate per 100,000 population the right way to measure these things? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to compare the incarceration rate of a country to its crime rate, rather than to its population?


About benvitalis

math grad - Interest: Number theory
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