States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2021

Individual American states topple entire countries around the world in number of people incarcerated, according to a new analysis from The Prison Policy Initiative

We go to the Prison Policy Initiative for this week’s study, “States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2021” by Emily Widra and Tiana Herring.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. Louisiana is the leading state in the U.S. rightfully earning itself the title of “the world's prison capital.” While Massachusetts and Vermont have some of the lowest incarceration rates in the country, they still are well-above single countries. Further supporting how individual states are aiding in the upholding of the high incarceration rates that are impacting the United States as a whole. 

  • Louisiana, the leading state in the U.S. for incarceration in comparison to founding NATO countries.

  • Besides Luxembourg and Iceland, Louisiana has a population that is significantly smaller than the compared countries. 

  • The incarceration rates of each U.S. state is vastly out of the scope of the entire world. 

  • The correlation between high rates of “violent crime” and incarceration rates is little to none. 

  • Findings show that there is no other country that incarcerates as many people, including countries with similar rates of “violent crime “ than the United States.

Read the whole study here1

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Rates calculated per 100,000 people. Read more about the data here.

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