We’re # 1
The U.S. incarcerates 693 people for every 100,000 residents, more than any other country in the world.
Our rate of incarceration is more than five times higher than most of the countries in the world, while our level of crime is comparable to that of other stable, internally secure, industrialized nations. America has an incarceration rate that far exceeds every other country.
Except for us, nearly all of the countries with relatively high incarceration rates have had recent large-scale internal conflicts. The United States, with the Civil war a century and a half behind us, has enjoyed a long history of political stability, yet we top the list for most citizens in jail.
For four decades, the U.S. has been engaged in a globally unprecedented experiment to make every part of its criminal justice system more expansive and more punitive. As a result, incarceration has become the nation’s default response to crime, with, for example, 70 percent of convictions resulting in confinement — far more than other developed nations with comparable crime rates.
U.S. incarceration numbers have been slowly declining for about twenty years, as have our crime rates. Cause and effect between the two has not been established with the least certainty.
May 31, 2016
May 24, 2016