Incarceration Rates by Country 2020

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Incarceration is the state of being confined in prison or imprisonment.

Mass incarceration in the United States has led to several issues, including overcrowded prisons, which increase health risks and decreased psychological well-being. Additionally, the increasing number of prisoners is putting a significant strain on state budgets. Prisons must control and administer all aspects of life for inmates, which lengthy and costly list of necessities. Prison costs include adequate security, food, recreational and education opportunities, infrastructure maintenance, utility costs for the facilities, and healthcare for the prisoners. State prison spending varies greatly and can be as high as $69,355 per inmate (the average cost of an inmate in New York).

The United States is the world leader in incarceration, despite the national incarceration rate being at its lowest in 20 years, with about 25% of the world's prison population being in the US. The United States currently has over 2.1 million total prisoners. The prison population in 1972 was 200,000, almost 2 million less than it is today. The prison populations in each state vary in each state, with the highest rates in Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Mass incarceration in the United States is a civil rights issue. Many argue that incarceration dehumanizes poor people and minorities, does not increase public safety, and damages already marginalized communities.

Around the world, many countries have jail occupancy rates over 100%. Kenya's jail occupancy level is currently 284%. The United States prisoner rate (number of prisoners per 100,000 people) is 639, the world's highest.

The ten countries with the highest incarceration rates are:

  1. United States (639)
  2. El Salvador (566)
  3. Turkmenistan (552)
  4. Thailand (549)
  5. Palau (522)
  6. Rwanda (511)
  7. Cuba (510)
  8. Maldives (499)
  9. Bahamas (442)
  10. Grenada (429)

Incarceration Rates by Country 2020

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Incarceration Rates by Country 2020

* Rate is number of prisoners per 100,000 population
Country Prisoners Rate Population 2020
United States639331,002,651
El Salvador5666,486,205
Turkmenistan5526,031,200
Thailand54969,799,978
Palau52218,094
Rwanda51112,952,218
Cuba51011,326,616
Maldives499540,544
Northern Mariana Islands48257,559
Bahamas442393,244
Grenada429112,523
Panama4124,314,767
Guam411168,775
Saint Kitts And Nevis39353,199
Costa Rica3745,094,118
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines369110,940
Anguilla36715,003
Cayman Islands36565,722
Brazil357212,559,417
Seychelles35698,347
Belize356397,628
American Samoa34555,191
Belarus3439,449,323
Bermuda34262,278
Russia341145,934,462
Uruguay3373,473,730
Turkey33584,339,067
Nicaragua3326,624,554
Puerto Rico3132,860,853
Brunei307437,479
Barbados300287,375
Namibia2952,540,905
Iran29483,992,949
Trinidad And Tobago2921,399,488
Peru29032,971,854
Fiji274896,445
Guyana264786,552
Saint Lucia263183,627
Dominica26271,986
South Africa25959,308,690
Taiwan25823,816,775
Georgia2513,989,167
Dominican Republic24310,847,910
Gabon2412,225,734
Paraguay2417,132,538
Honduras2379,904,607
Morocco23736,910,560
Curacao236164,093
Bahrain2341,701,575
Israel2348,655,535
Macau232649,335
Argentina23045,195,774
Greenland22556,770
Cook Islands22417,564
Ecuador22417,643,054
Cambodia22016,718,965
French Polynesia219280,908
Mauritius2171,271,768
Chile21719,116,201
Lithuania2162,722,289
Malaysia21232,365,999
Botswana2082,351,627
Azerbaijan20810,139,177
Lebanon2056,825,445
Samoa204198,414
Philippines200109,581,078
Colombia19950,882,891
Saudi Arabia19734,813,871
Slovakia1965,459,642
Singapore1955,850,342
Tunisia19511,818,619
Martinique189375,265
New Zealand1884,822,233
Moldova1864,033,963
Czech Republic18610,708,981
Suriname183586,632
Estonia1811,326,535
Poland18137,846,611
Venezuela17828,435,940
Latvia1751,886,198
Montenegro172628,066
Myanmar17154,409,800
Hungary1699,660,351
Guadeloupe167400,124
Tonga166105,695
Aruba165106,766
Bolivia16411,673,021
Kyrgyzstan1616,524,195
Australia16025,499,884
Albania1592,877,797
Serbia1588,737,371
Mexico158128,932,753
Kazakhstan15718,776,707
New Caledonia154285,498
Saint Martin15338,666
Algeria15343,851,044
Ukraine14843,733,762
Guatemala14617,915,568
Malta145441,543
Bhutan145771,608
Nauru14010,824
Libya1396,871,292
Jamaica1382,961,167
Laos1307,275,560
Vietnam12897,338,579
Micronesia127115,023
Zimbabwe12714,862,924
Ethiopia127114,963,588
Iraq12640,222,493
Isle Of Man12585,033
Cameroon12426,545,863
Uganda12445,741,007
Zambia12318,383,955
Spain12246,754,778
Tajikistan1219,537,645
China1211,439,323,776
Kuwait1174,270,571
Sao Tome And Principe116219,159
Egypt116102,334,404
United Kingdom11467,886,011
Kiribati113119,449
Tuvalu11011,792
Mongolia1103,278,290
Romania11019,237,691
Bulgaria1096,948,445
Portugal10910,196,709
Greece10810,423,054
Canada10737,742,154
Sri Lanka10521,413,249
South Korea10551,269,185
United Arab Emirates1049,890,402
Madagascar10227,691,018
Haiti9711,402,528
Austria959,006,398
Belgium9511,589,623
Angola9332,866,272
Lesotho922,142,249
Hong Kong907,496,981
Italy9060,461,826
Afghanistan8738,928,346
France8765,273,511
Cyprus861,207,359
Indonesia85273,523,615
Croatia844,105,267
Burundi8411,890,784
Nepal8429,136,808
Luxembourg83625,978
Bosnia And Herzegovina833,280,819
Ivory Coast8226,378,274
Kenya8153,771,296
Switzerland808,654,622
Solomon Islands77686,884
Armenia742,963,243
Ireland744,937,786
Vanuatu72307,145
Malawi7119,129,952
Benin7012,123,200
Germany6983,783,942
Denmark685,792,202
Sweden6810,099,265
Senegal6816,743,927
Uzbekistan6833,469,203
Togo678,278,724
Marshall Islands6659,190
Djibouti66988,000
Equatorial Guinea631,402,985
Netherlands6317,134,872
Mozambique6331,255,435
Papua New Guinea628,947,024
Sierra Leone607,976,983
Syria6017,500,658
Chad5916,425,864
Tanzania5959,734,218
Andorra5577,265
Liberia545,057,681
Slovenia532,078,938
Qatar532,881,053
Mauritania534,649,658
Finland535,540,720
Yemen5329,825,964
Timor Leste521,318,445
Ghana5231,072,940
Sudan5243,849,260
Bangladesh52164,689,383
South Sudan5011,193,725
Norway495,421,241
Niger4724,206,644
Oman455,106,626
Japan39126,476,461
Pakistan38220,892,340
Burkina Faso3720,903,273
India351,380,004,385
Iceland33341,243
Mali3320,250,833
Gambia312,416,668
Nigeria31206,139,589
Dr Congo2989,561,403
Guinea2813,132,795
Comoros27869,601
Republic Of The Congo275,518,087
Liechtenstein2338,128
Monaco2139,242
Central African Republic164,829,767
San Marino633,931

Incarceration Rates by Country 2020