Crime: Incarceration Rates, by country
CountryNumber of prisoners,
per 100k
El SalvadorEl Salvador1,086
American SamoaAmerican Samoa538
U.S.United States of America531
Virgin Islands (UK)Virgin Islands (UK)368
Cabo VerdeCabo Verde366
St. Vincent and the GrenadinesSt. Vincent and the Grenadines353
Virgin Islands (U.S.)Virgin Islands (U.S.)345
French GuianaFrench Guiana305
Costa RicaCosta Rica301
Russian FederationRussia300
St. Kitts and NevisSt. Kitts and Nevis296
  • Region: Worldwide
  • Time period: Jan 2024
  • Published: Jan 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 27, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Highest Incarceration Rates

El Salvador leads with an incarceration rate of 1086 prisoners per 100,000 population, making it the country with the highest rate among the listed countries. Following closely, Cuba and Rwanda have rates of 794 and 637 respectively, placing them significantly above other nations in terms of the number of individuals imprisoned relative to their populations.

Regional Variations in Incarceration Rates

The data reveals significant regional variations, with Central America and the Caribbean featuring prominently among the highest rates. Countries such as El Salvador, Cuba, and the United States territory of American Samoa showcase the diverse geographic spread of high incarceration rates, indicating a potential regional trend in penal policy or crime rates.

Comparison Between United States and Other Territories

The United States has an incarceration rate of 531, which, while high, is surpassed by its own territory, American Samoa, with a rate of 538. This comparison highlights the differences in incarceration rates even within territories under the same national jurisdiction.

Lowest Incarceration Rates in the Dataset

Belize has the lowest incarceration rate among the countries listed, with 289 prisoners per 100,000 population. It represents a significant decrease compared to the highest rates, illustrating the vast differences in how countries or territories manage crime and punishment.

Incarceration Rates Above 500 Per 100,000 Population

Six entities have incarceration rates exceeding 500 per 100,000 population: El Salvador, Cuba, Rwanda, Turkmenistan, American Samoa, and the United States. This threshold highlights a group of places with particularly high levels of incarceration relative to their population sizes.

Impact of Small Populations on Incarceration Rates

Territories with smaller populations, such as American Samoa, Guam, and Palau, tend to have higher incarceration rates. This could indicate that smaller populations might amplify the per capita impact of incarceration, suggesting a disproportionate effect in smaller communities.

European and Asian Representation

The list is notably diverse with the inclusion of countries like Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation, which have incarceration rates of 576 and 300 respectively. Their presence among countries primarily from the Americas highlights the global issue of incarceration, transcending regional boundaries.

Incarceration Rate Close to 300 Per 100,000 Population

A cluster of countries, including Russian Federation, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Belize, have incarceration rates around 300 per 100,000 population. This grouping illustrates a common level of incarceration that might reflect similar challenges or approaches to criminal justice among these diverse nations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which country has the highest incarceration rate according to the provided data?

According to the data, El Salvador has the highest incarceration rate with 1086 prisoners per 100,000 population.

Which country has the lowest incarceration rate among the listed data?

Belize has the lowest incarceration rate among the countries listed, with 289 prisoners per 100,000 population.

Terms and Definitions

Incarceration refers to the act of confining or imprisoning someone, usually in a prison or similar correctional facility.

The incarceration rate is the number of persons in a nation's correctional facilities (per 100,000 of the national population) at a specific point in time. This statistic serves to show the prevalence of imprisonment in each country.

A correctional facility is a place where persons convicted of crimes serve out their sentences. These can be jails (short-term holding), prisons (long-term holding), halfway houses, or rehabilitation centers.

The crime rate is a measure of the number of reported criminal incidents per unit of population in a specified time period. Crime rates are often used to infer the relative safety or danger of specific locations.

The sentencing policy represents the laws and practices governing the punishment of individuals convicted of crimes in a jurisdiction. Policies can vary greatly, impacting the length and type of sentences served, as well as the likelihood of incarceration.

Recidivism is the act of re-offending or relapsing into criminal behavior. In criminology, the recidivism rate measures the proportion of previously convicted individuals who commit another crime, often used to judge the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs.

Parole is the early release of a prisoner who agrees to adhere to certain conditions while serving the rest of their term outside of the correctional facility. Parole decisions can influence incarceration rates.

Rehabilitation in a correctional context refers to the programs and initiatives aimed at helping incarcerated individuals reintegrate into society and live law-abiding lives upon their release.

Pretrial detention is the period in which an individual is detained in a correctional facility while awaiting trial. It can significantly contribute to a country's overall incarceration rate, particularly if individuals are held for extended periods without trial.
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