Which Country Has the Highest Prison Population in the World?

The United States is home to only about 5 percent of the world's population, but about 25 percent of the world's prison population comes from the U.S. This amounts to more than 2 million people in prison, or a little less than one out of every 150 U.S. citizens. This is occurring largely because of tougher sentencing measures put in place in the 1980s, and it costs more than $55 billion US Dollars a year.

More facts about prison populations:

  • Among larger nations, India is the country with the lowest incarceration rate, with only 33 out of every 100,000 people in jail. This takes on an even greater significance when compared to more than 650 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S.

  • The prison populations of the U.S., China, and Russia make up about half of the entire global prison population.

  • More than 10 million people are incarcerated worldwide.

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