Countries with the largest number of prisoners per 100,000 of the national population, as of 2013

 Number of prisoners per 100,000 population
USA 716
St. Kitts and Nevis 649
Seychelles 641
Virgin Islands (U.S.) 539
Rwanda 527
Cuba 510
Russia 490
Anguila (U.K.) 487
Georgia 473
Virgin Islands (U.K.) 460
Belarus 438
El Salvador 425
Bermuda (U.K.) 417
Azerbaijan 407
Belize 407
Grenada 402
Antigua and Barbuda 395
Panama 392
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 389
Cayman Islands (U.K.) 382
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The statistics represent the countries with the most prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants, as of Februray 2013. The United States had the highest prisoner rate, with about 716 prisoners per 100,000 of the national population.

Prisoners in the United States

As the statistic above illustrates, the United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. With 716 inmates per 100 thousand of population, the U.S. is by far the leader among industrialized nations in incarceration. Russia comes closest at 490, though there is no data regarding China’s incarceration rate available.

Not only does the U.S. lead the world in incarcerations per 100 thousand of population, but it is home to largest total number of prisoners.

Roughly 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States. China’s estimated prison population totals to only 1.6 million people. Other nations with population sizes comparable to the United States have far fewer prisoners.

The majority of U.S. prisoners in federal correctional facilities are of black or African-American origin. As of 2011, there were about half a million male and about 26 thousand female black, non-Hispanic prisoners. They made up 40 percent of all incarcerated persons in the U.S, but account for only 13 percent of the total U.S. population.

About 237 thousand prisoners in state facilities were sentenced for drug-related offenses, accounting for roughly 17.4 percent of all state prisoners in the U.S. Drug-related offenses, such as trafficking and possession, were the most common cause of imprisonment in state prisons. Second most common were felonies, such as robbery and murder, at 13.6 and 12.2 percent respectively.

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