Life in Lockup

An In-depth Look at Reasons for Incarceration in the U.S.

Incarceration in the US
Source: CriminalJusticeDegreeHub.com

The United States jails more of its citizens than any other country in the world. And the rate of incarceration has surged in recent decades. What’s behind the trend of mass incarceration?

In the Lead (But Not for a Good Reason)

The U.S. outpaces all other nations in incarceration rate — and it’s not even close. But mass incarceration wasn’t always part of the American way of life.

Prisoners per 100,000 population, select countries (1)

  • U.S.: 716
  • Rwanda: 492
  • Russia: 475
  • Brazil: 274
  • Spain: 147
  • Australia: 130
  • China: 121
  • Canada: 118
  • Austria: 98
  • France: 98
  • Germany: 79
  • Denmark: 73
  • Sweden: 67
  • India: 30
  • Incarceration rate by state (prisoners per 100,000 population) (2)
  • Washington: 269
  • Oregon: 361
  • California: 439
  • Idaho: 474
  • Nevada: 472
  • Arizona: 572
  • Utah: 238
  • Montana: 378
  • Wyoming: 385
  • Colorado: 445
  • New Mexico: 323
  • North Dakota: 226
  • South Dakota: 416
  • Nebraska: 247
  • Kansas: 317
  • Oklahoma: 654
  • Texas: 648
  • Wisconsin: 366
  • Illinois: 373
  • Minnesota: 185
  • Iowa: 309
  • Missouri: 508
  • Arkansas: 552
  • Louisiana: 867
  • Michigan: 445
  • Indiana: 434
  • Kentucky: 458
  • Tennessee: 432
  • Mississippi: 686
  • Alabama: 648
  • Ohio: 448
  • Florida: 556
  • Georgia: 479
  • South Carolina: 495
  • North Carolina: 373
  • Virginia: 468
  • West Virginia: 363
  • Maryland: 387
  • Delaware: 443
  • New Jersey: 286
  • Pennsylvania: 403
  • New York: 288
  • Vermont: 265
  • New Hampshire: 209
  • Maine: 148
  • Massachusetts: 200
  • Rhode Island: 197
  • Connecticut: 376
  • Alaska: 340
  • Hawaii: 302