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U.S. Has More Prisoners Than Any Other Country

Posted on Dec 11, 2006

The United States has the largest prison population in the world, with 2.2 million people in prison and 7 million in prison, on probation or on parole.  China, which has about a billion more people than the U.S., has only 1.5 million prisoners.

Largest Minority:

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College in London, the United States has the largest prison population and highest rate of incarceration in the world. A US Justice Department report released late last month revealed that one in every 32 American adults was either in jail, on probation, or on parole.

America has a total of 2.2 million people in prison. There are 15 American states with smaller populations than that. Also ranking high on the list, but not close to the US, were China and Russia. Even though China has about 4.5 times as many people as the United States, it only has 1.5 million in prison. Russia came in third with 870,000.

Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, who supports alternatives in the “war on drugs” said, “The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population. We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens.”

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By Piotr Obminski, February 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
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OK, all is not well in the US of A. Still, Russia is much worse and I don’t see many sites like this making great fuss of such things like e.g. murdering of the Polish President with 95 other people on a state-visit. It was on the 10th of April last years, if you don’t know.

What about it? Especially, that it’s by far not the only such crime. Wait a bit, choose your Obama’s for Presidency… And you will also feel what it is. wink

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By anthony bauwens, July 5, 2007 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Maybe the more private prisons have more things to do for their prisoners work wise?3 good meals maybe a pension,people are buying more stocks in these sectors!

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By Polly Ester, December 18, 2006 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Where else can a person go to prison and get a law degree? What other Country feeds their prisoners better? What other country provides better physical fitness equipment.”

Montie Shields USAF RET,

It sounds like you found the perfect place to retire, or perhaps just to vacation.

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By Montie Shields USAF RET., December 16, 2006 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After reading the other comments here is a few
reasons why the prison population is greater in
America than any other country on earth. Where
else can a person go to prison and get a law
degree? What other Country feeds their prison-
ers better? What other country provides better
physical fitness equipment. Name another coun-
try that allows a prisoner to demand his rights?
Where else can a prisoner SUE his government, or
anyone he wants to SUE? Bottom line when a pri-
soner in foreign countries get released, if
they are able to be released MOST DO NOT WANT
P.S. In what other does a prisoner have RIGHTS?

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By dieter weinschel, December 12, 2006 at 12:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The article would make more sense to me if you would include the number excecuted and the life expectancy in prison. From your article is impossible to know if the prison population is lower because more convictions end in excecution and if the prison conditions are such the that the life expectancy is low.

I don’t know what you would like the reader to conclude.  Without the rest of the information I can conclude nothing. It is of course possible that the article has no purpose beyond .........

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By rae2, December 11, 2006 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And those who aren’t in an ACTUAL prison are often in a VIRTUAL ONE (victim of psychological conditioning, abuse & control by a religion, cult, political party, professional association, social stigma or just out-and-out mindless struggle to find that most elusive of all myths… the American Dream… aka PROFIT & GREED).

Land of the FREE my ass.

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By Ken C, December 11, 2006 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, the US is probably the only nation in the world that has figured out how profitable prisons can be.  When it comes to making money, the US sees profit in almost everything.  So the tougher we get on crime, the more guards we need, the more judges, the more police, more prisons, and on and on.  And now that we have privatized prisons, I would look for our prison population to continue to rise.  There just isn’t that much money to be made in rehabilitating people.

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By Louise, December 11, 2006 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well of course!

Here’s how it works. You, the taxpayer pay for ever bigger, better prisons. Then your elected officials contract the running of those prisons out to private corporations. They in turn contract out to other private corporations to bring work into the prisons. The prisoners are the labor that produces the product.

A real Sweetheart deal, the prisons are funded by you. The prison managers have available labor to market to “free enterprise.” The products made are produced for much less, but sold at a competitive price. (Ca-Ching!) The States only need to worry about providing an ever increasing supply of convicts. The Prisons only need to worry about acquiring an ever increasing supply of convicts. And you only need to worry about ever increasing State and Local taxes, (somebody’s got to pay for those prisons) an ever increasing drug abuse problem (Got to keep those prisons full) and staying out of prison.

It’s a win-win for everybody!

Well except maybe the poor shluck who does get locked up and the small businessman who thinks he can compete.

Does anybody out there ever wonder why in spite of the BILLIONS spent every year (more tax dollars) we can’t get a handle on the drug abuse problem? Well, that may be one reason anyway.

Isn’t “PRIVATIZATION” grand ...

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 11, 2006 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What we have is a prison industrial complex!
After spending $5.2 billion on prison construction over the past fifteen years, California now has not only the largest but also the most overcrowded prison system in the United States. The state Department of Corrections estimates that it will need to spend an additional $6.1 billion on prisons over the next decade just to maintain the current level of overcrowding.

Who are the prisoners?
    70% of the prison inmates in the United States are illiterate
    200,000 inmates suffer from a serious mental illness
    60% to 80% has a history of substance abuse while the number of drug-treatment slots in American prisons has declined by more than half since 1993
    80% of prisoners in California are African-Americans
    Last year California sent about 140,000 people to prison—and released about 132,000. On average, inmates spend two and a half years behind bars, and then serve a term of one to three years on parole.
    Almost two thirds of the people sent to prison in California last year were parole violators. Of the roughly 80,000 parole violators returned to prison. The gigantic prison system that California has built at such great expense has essentially become a revolving door for poor, highly dysfunctional, and often illiterate drug abusers.
First the poor are warehoused in an inferior school system and, if they can’t be controlled, they are then sent to “prison university”-—well, I guess they can also go to Iraq.

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By Quy Tran, December 11, 2006 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every year the State Department issues indictment denouncing other countries to violate human rights. Those countries included China, Vietnam…..Right now the mask was falling down with 2.2 million people in prison. The yearly charge should be ceased. Don’t judge the others before self judging if not the big farce will become big fart !

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By Rodney Matthews, December 11, 2006 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Racism and poverty fuels our prison population. If you are black or hispanic and you go to court looking for justice, you find just us. Poor whites also get the same treatment in some circumstances but they do get more opportunities to avoid incarceration through drug treatment and probation. If we treat drug abuse the way we treat alcoholism, then we could put more money where it is needed,in rehabilation,treatment, and job training in order to beat this viscous cycle. People who are arrested for strickly drug charges without any other charges should be allowed to have their record expunged if they complete drug treatment,and stay drug free for at least a year. That way they could again have a fresh start and become productive members of society. That would allow them to apply for jobs they otherwise would not qualify for. I believe that we really do not want to solve the high drug and incarceration rate in this country because of what I call the incarceration economy which means more Police, more lawyers,and judges more correctional officers. more bailbondsmen and so on. If we reduced our prison population, we will reduce our criminal justice economy. So as long as we continue to sacrifice lives for jobs we will continue the racist status quo to keep the incarceration rate high.

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By Spinoza, December 11, 2006 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Law and Order must prevail

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