We’re Still #1 In Prisoners


The United States has been locking up more of its citizens than any other country for some time now – and last year we extended our lead. A record seven million Americans – three per cent of the population – were behind bars, on probation or on parole in 2005, the Department of Justice announced last night. That number includes 2.2 million people currently locked up here in the Land of the Free, despite the fact that crime rates have been falling for over a decade. That gives us an incarceration rate several times higher than that of any Western European country, and far ahead of our closest competitor, liberty-loving Russia.

Fact:

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  • Vince Beiser, a former Mother Jones senior editor, has reported from more than 30 countries—on troop training in Iraq, natural disasters in Haiti, and prison conditions in California.