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Where does America rank in prison population?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Americans often refer to the United States as the “land of the free.” The slogan is very popular, especially around holidays like the Fourth of July. But is it accurate?

What you will find is that the United States actually has one of the highest prison populations in the world. Statistically speaking, this means that it is one of the least free countries. Let’s look at where the U.S. ranks on a global scale.

Only five countries rank higher

The United States currently has the sixth-highest prison population per capita. This number is determined by looking at how many people are behind bars for every 100,000 people in the country. In the United States, there are 505 prisoners for every 100,000 citizens.

Only slightly higher is Cuba, with 510 prisoners for every hundred thousand people. At the very top of the list is El Salvador, with 605, followed by Rwanda with 580.

If you include U.S. territories, it’s also worth noting that many of them rank very highly. For instance, fourth on the list is American Samoa, with 538 prisoners for every 100,000 people. Slightly farther down and just outside of the top 10 is Guam, with 408. Further down the list, you’ll find the Virgin Islands, with 345.

The closest comparable country is Russia, where there are 304 prisoners for every 100,000 people. But even Russia has a drastically smaller prison population than the United States.

Your criminal defense options

What this shows you is that the criminal justice system is certainly putting people behind bars at an aggressive rate. If you’re facing charges, that’s why it’s so important that you understand all of the legal defense options at your disposal.