Prison Rates In These States Are Higher Than Any Country

Jail cell lock
Zain Murdock
October 5, 2021

Nearly 1 in 100 people in the U.S. are incarcerated. That’s 1 out of every 5 incarcerated people in the WORLD! But a new study from the Prison Policy Initiative is breaking down these numbers even more – and it’s shocking.

The study imagined that every state in the U.S. was its own country. When they did that, about half the states had a higher incarceration rate than every other country in the world! The highest-ranking state? Louisiana, which locks up 1,094 out of every 100,000 people. 

But, if Louisiana is the highest-ranking “country” in the world, what are the others like?

El Salvador is the highest outside the U.S. at 562, and it’s significantly smaller. And in places like Brazil and South Africa, with homicide rates more than TWICE as high as the U.S., incarceration is even less! Canada, right next door, is at 104. So why is the U.S. so drastically different?

The white supremacist system of prisons in the U.S. not only kills and incarcerates Black people, but makes us think we “need” prisons. So of course they wouldn’t want us to know how the rest of the world is doing things differently.

The truth of the matter? The U.S. has high incarceration rates because it criminalizes poverty, liberation movements, and Blackness itself.

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