NYT: Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’

June 13, 2008 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

Originally written April 24th, 2008

In keeping with my newfound interest in all things law, I caught an NYT piece this morning that I wanted to direct people’s attention to. It’s discussing the fact that we’re number 1 (Go USA!) in incarceration rates:

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences.

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.

You can read the rest of the article here. While it is pehaps not news to many people that we’re leading the way in locking people up, what I found interesting was that there was a comparison to the rates in other 1st world nations such as Germany and England (as the usual retort to this sort of thing is that the numbers don’t include people who are disappeared) and that the US is also a standalone in imprisoning people for minor property crime.

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Entry filed under: Law, Moldy Oldy, Society. Tags: , , .

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