Incarceration Rates by Country 2022

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Incarceration is the state of being confined in prison, typically as punishment for a crime. Every country in the world has a prison system of some sort, though the exact nature of that system—as well as the number of prisoners incarcerated within it—varies tremendously from country to country. The United States leads the world in total number of people incarcerated, with more than 2 million prisoners nationwide (per data released in October 2021 by World Prison Brief). This number is equivalent to roughly 25% of the world's total prison population and leads to an incarceration rate of 629 people per 100,000—the highest rate in the world. The prison populations in each U.S. state vary from one to the next, with the highest rates in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Overall, the incarceration rate in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the past decade—the prison population was a mere 200,000 in 1972, less than a tenth of today's total. However, the current rate is the lowest it has been in 20 years.

Top 10 Countries with the most people in prison

  1. United States — 2,068,800
  2. China — 1,690,000
  3. Brazil — 811,707
  4. India — 478,600
  5. Russia — 471,490
  6. Thailand — 309,282
  7. Turkey — 291,198
  8. Indonesia — 266,259
  9. Mexico — 220,866
  10. Iran — 189,000

Top 10 Countries with the highest rate of incarceration

  1. United States — 629
  2. Rwanda — 580
  3. Turkmenistan — 576
  4. El Salvador — 564
  5. Cuba — 510
  6. Palau — 478
  7. British Virgin Islands (U.K. territory) — 477
  8. Thailand — 445
  9. Panama — 423
  10. Saint Kitts and Nevis — 423

Challenges raised by high incarceration rates

Mass incarceration in the United States is a civil rights issue. Organizations such as the Prison Policy Initiative argue that incarceration dehumanizes poor people and minorities, damages already marginalized communities, and often jails people for small-scale offenses such as marijuana possession in countries where weed is illegal. Additionally, evidence exists that a high incarceration rate does not actually increase public safety—a stance often validated by data on crime rate per country, murder rates, rape statistics, and gun violence per country. Nor, for that matter, does capital punishment, commonly known as the death penalty.

Mass incarceration can also lead to several logistical issues including prison overcrowding, which increases health risks and decreases the psychological well-being of those inside. Around the world, many countries have jail occupancy rates that exceed 100% of their prison system's capacity. Kenya's jail occupancy level is currently 284%. Additionally, the massive number of prisons and prisoners places a significant strain on state budgets. Prison costs include adequate security, food, recreational and education opportunities, infrastructure maintenance, utility costs for the facilities, healthcare for the prisoners, and (in better prisons) programs to train and rehabilitate inmates so they are less likely to return to prison in the future. State prison spending varies greatly and can be as high as $69,355 per inmate per year (the average cost of an inmate in New York).

Incarceration Rates by Country 2022

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Incarceration Rates by Country 2022

* Rate is number incarcerated per 100,000 population
Country Incarceration Rate Total Incarcerated % Male % Female
United States6292,068,80090.00%10.00%
Rwanda58076,09995.00%5.00%
Turkmenistan57635,00094.00%7.00%
El Salvador56436,66393.00%7.00%
Cuba51057,3370.00%0.00%
Palau4788695.00%5.00%
British Virgin Islands47714396.00%5.00%
Thailand445309,28289.00%12.00%
Panama43418,94295.00%5.00%
Saint Kitts And Nevis42322096.00%4.00%
Grenada41346399.00%1.00%
United States Virgin Islands39441297.00%3.00%
Bahamas3921,61797.00%3.00%
Uruguay38313,40295.00%5.00%
Brazil381811,70795.00%5.00%
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines36941097.00%3.00%
Anguilla36755100.00%0.00%
Guam35560093.00%7.00%
Turkey347291,19896.00%4.00%
Belarus34532,55689.00%11.00%
American Samoa34519396.00%4.00%
Maldives3331,80096.00%4.00%
Nicaragua33220,91895.00%5.00%
Russia326471,49092.00%8.00%
Northern Mariana Islands31317594.00%6.00%
Cayman Islands31220594.00%6.00%
Costa Rica29815,34597.00%4.00%
Cape Verde2961,54997.00%3.00%
Barbados29685097.00%3.00%
Namibia2957,40097.00%3.00%
Seychelles28728593.00%7.00%
Puerto Rico2788,88496.00%4.00%
Eswatini2773,79697.00%3.00%
Trinidad And Tobago2763,80297.00%3.00%
Dominica276204100.00%50.00%
Fiji2742,50698.00%3.00%
Gibraltar2739293.00%7.00%
Saint Lucia26851897.00%3.00%
Peru25987,25195.00%5.00%
Belize2581,04699.00%1.00%
Georgia2539,44497.00%3.00%
South Africa248147,92298.00%2.00%
Argentina243109,40596.00%4.00%
Gabon2414,47698.00%2.00%
Dominican Republic23926,60097.00%3.00%
Guyana2391,88497.00%3.00%
Curacao23637797.00%3.00%
Honduras23421,67594.00%6.00%
Israel23419,37699.00%1.00%
Bahrain2343,48595.00%5.00%
Cambodia23339,00092.00%8.00%
Morocco23284,99098.00%3.00%
French Guiana22971292.00%8.00%
Iran228189,00097.00%3.00%
Macau2251,53386.00%14.00%
Greenland22512686.00%14.00%
Ecuador22439,25193.00%7.00%
Cook Islands2244792.00%8.00%
Taiwan21951,67391.00%9.00%
Antigua And Barbuda21621095.00%5.00%
Malaysia21269,50796.00%5.00%
Chile21239,67092.00%8.00%
Azerbaijan21021,25397.00%3.00%
Saudi Arabia20768,05698.00%2.00%
Paraguay20514,64895.00%5.00%
Mauritius2052,65294.00%6.00%
Martinique20578998.00%2.00%
French Polynesia20558197.00%3.00%
Samoa20240094.00%6.00%
Bermuda20012497.00%3.00%
Tunisia19723,48497.00%3.00%
Colombia19397,61593.00%7.00%
Poland19071,90795.00%5.00%
Slovakia18910,33393.00%7.00%
Brunei18684188.00%12.00%
Singapore18511,19889.00%11.00%
Suriname1851,00097.00%3.00%
Lithuania1845,15395.00%5.00%
Mongolia1835,83296.00%5.00%
Moldova1816,42394.00%6.00%
New Caledonia18152099.00%1.00%
Albania1795,04298.00%2.00%
Sint Maarten1797795.00%5.00%
Kazakhstan17733,21795.00%5.00%
Czech Republic17718,96992.00%8.00%
Jordan17417,70898.00%2.00%
Hungary17216,75292.00%8.00%
Myanmar17192,00088.00%12.00%
Guadeloupe17076397.00%3.00%
Mexico169220,86694.00%6.00%
Estonia1682,23195.00%5.00%
Australia16742,90993.00%8.00%
Tonga16617696.00%5.00%
Latvia1653,12493.00%7.00%
Aruba16517097.00%4.00%
New Zealand1648,39794.00%6.00%
Botswana1623,88295.00%5.00%
Kyrgyzstan16110,14296.00%4.00%
Malta15982193.00%7.00%
Bolivia15718,26092.00%8.00%
Serbia15410,59896.00%4.00%
Algeria15365,00099.00%2.00%
Philippines151165,58390.00%10.00%
Mayotte151431100.00%20.00%
Iraq14557,00097.00%3.00%
Bhutan1451,11996.00%4.00%
Uganda14265,00096.00%4.00%
Ukraine14049,21196.00%4.00%
Nauru1401493.00%7.00%
Libya1399,10099.00%1.00%
Montenegro13986397.00%3.00%
Guatemala13624,94289.00%11.00%
Sri Lanka13528,91595.00%5.00%
Vietnam130125,69788.00%12.00%
Laos1309,00086.00%14.00%
Jamaica1303,71996.00%4.00%
Micronesia127132100.00%0.00%
Isle of Man12510694.00%6.00%
Zambia12322,82397.00%3.00%
Romania12022,92196.00%5.00%
China1191,690,00091.00%9.00%
France11962,99196.00%4.00%
Egypt118120,00096.00%4.00%
Zimbabwe11520,40798.00%2.00%
Sao Tome And Principe11526096.00%4.00%
Spain11355,43393.00%7.00%
Venezuela11337,54394.00%6.00%
Portugal11311,60393.00%7.00%
Kiribati11312999.00%1.00%
Kuwait1114,42094.00%6.00%
Tuvalu11011100.00%0.00%
South Korea10553,92093.00%7.00%
Canada10438,57094.00%6.00%
United Arab Emirates1049,82688.00%12.00%
Greece10311,00195.00%5.00%
North Macedonia1032,12597.00%3.00%
Haiti10011,50096.00%4.00%
Ethiopia99110,00096.00%4.00%
Madagascar9927,60094.00%6.00%
Lebanon986,67097.00%3.00%
Croatia983,94194.00%6.00%
Indonesia97266,25995.00%5.00%
Hong Kong967,10781.00%19.00%
Belgium9310,80895.00%5.00%
Bulgaria936,42797.00%3.00%
Lesotho922,07396.00%4.00%
Italy9153,93096.00%4.00%
Austria918,13294.00%6.00%
Angola8926,00097.00%3.00%
Burundi8611,67593.00%7.00%
Luxembourg8654895.00%5.00%
Vanuatu8625398.00%3.00%
Nepal8525,75895.00%5.00%
Cameroon8522,43097.00%3.00%
Tajikistan838,00098.00%2.00%
Bosnia And Herzegovina831,81397.00%3.00%
Ivory Coast8221,43098.00%3.00%
Kenya8142,59693.00%7.00%
Cyprus8071695.00%5.00%
Solomon Islands7950098.00%2.00%
Andorra786188.00%12.00%
Afghanistan7728,24097.00%3.00%
Ireland753,80296.00%4.00%
Benin739,00097.00%3.00%
Sweden737,60794.00%6.00%
Switzerland736,31694.00%6.00%
Denmark724,22796.00%4.00%
Armenia722,14597.00%3.00%
Malawi7114,50099.00%1.00%
Djibouti7166295.00%5.00%
Germany7058,00494.00%6.00%
Uzbekistan6822,8670.00%0.00%
Senegal6811,54797.00%3.00%
Marshall Islands6635100.00%0.00%
Slovenia641,36095.00%5.00%
Equatorial Guinea6350095.00%5.00%
Syria6010,59993.00%7.00%
Netherlands6010,54295.00%5.00%
Chad598,70098.00%2.00%
Papua New Guinea585,08795.00%5.00%
Mozambique5718,37897.00%3.00%
Norway563,03496.00%5.00%
Timor Leste5475796.00%4.00%
Qatar531,15085.00%15.00%
Tanzania5232,43897.00%3.00%
Sudan5221,00098.00%2.00%
Liberia512,62097.00%3.00%
South Sudan507,00089.00%11.00%
Togo504,11798.00%2.00%
Finland502,74392.00%8.00%
Bangladesh4883,10796.00%4.00%
Sierra Leone473,80899.00%2.00%
Mauritania472,17599.00%1.00%
Oman451,96096.00%5.00%
Ghana4213,20099.00%1.00%
Niger399,18796.00%4.00%
Pakistan3782,13998.00%2.00%
Japan3747,06492.00%9.00%
Burkina Faso377,62198.00%2.00%
Comoros3732298.00%2.00%
India35478,60096.00%4.00%
Yemen359,71999.00%1.00%
Mali347,00097.00%3.00%
Monaco341392.00%8.00%
Nigeria3268,55698.00%2.00%
Guinea Bissau3159697.00%3.00%
Liechtenstein311286.00%14.00%
Guinea303,78297.00%3.00%
DR Congo2920,55097.00%3.00%
Iceland2910693.00%7.00%
Republic of the Congo271,38896.00%4.00%
Gambia2354398.00%3.00%
Faroe Islands189100.00%0.00%
Central African Republic1676497.00%3.00%
North Korea0.00%0.00%
Somalia0.00%0.00%
Eritrea0.00%0.00%
San Marino00.00%0.00%

Incarceration Rates by Country 2022

Sources