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Let this sink in for a moment: the United States has the highest prisoner population rate in the world. That's right, even more than China. (And, no - that doesn't include all of the hidden prisons in places like Afghanistan that the US initially denied. You know... those prisons that Obama said he would shut down when he became president.) And it has FEMA camps waiting to take on many more.

Why? What is wrong with America? What does it mean to be a totalitarian state?

  • More than 9.8 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, mostly as pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or as sentenced prisoners. Almost half of these are in the United States (2.29m), Russia (0.89m) or China (1.57m sentenced prisoners). A further 850,000 are held in 'administrative detention' in China; if these are included the overall Chinese total is over 2.4 million and the world total over 10.65 million.

  • The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, 756 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (629), Rwanda (604), St Kitts & Nevis (588), Cuba (c.531), U.S. Virgin Is. (512), British Virgin Is. (488), Palau (478), Belarus (468), Belize (455), Bahamas (422), Georgia (415), American Samoa (410), Grenada (408) and Anguilla (401).

  • Almost three fifths of countries (59%) have rates below 150 per 100,000.

  • The world population in 2008 is estimated at 6,750 million (United Nations); set against a world prison population of 9.8 million this produces a world prison population rate of 145 per 100,000 (158 per 100,000 if set against a world prison population of 10.65 million).

  • Prison population rates vary considerably between different regions of the world, and between different parts of the same continent. For example:

    • in Africa the median rate for western African countries is 35 whereas for southern African countries it is 231;

    • in the Americas the median rate for south American countries is 154 whereas for Caribbean countries it is 324.5;

    • in Asia the median rate for south central Asian countries (mainly the Indian sub-continent) is 53 whereas for (ex-Soviet) central Asian countries it is 184;

    • in Europe the median rate for southern and western European countries is 95 whereas for the countries spanning Europe and Asia (e.g. Russia & Turkey) it is 229.

    • in Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) the median rate is 102.5.

World Prison Population List (eighth edition) by King's College London, International Centre for Prison Studies

DISCUSS!

Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Apr 28, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=541

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