Incarceration rates in OECD countries as of 2018

Incarceration rates in OECD countries as of 2018 This statistic shows the incarceration rate in OECD countries, as of May 2018. The incarceration rate represents the number of people in prison per 100,000 of population. As of May 2018, the incarceration rate in the United States was 655 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents.
Additional information on incarceration patterns between countries

The relatively large population of the United States when compared with other OECD countries in conjunction with the country’s extremely high incarceration rate means that the United States houses more than one half of the global prison population. Recent attention has been focused on the number of people imprisoned for minor offences. As such, a large proportion of the United States prison population have been incarcerated for offences that would see them fined or punished through alternative means in other developed countries.
Among this cohort are a significant number of people imprisoned for low-level drug related crimes. Critics have suggested that shifting policy toward drug rehabilitation for users and a focus on high level drug traffickers would have a positive societal effect whilst also lowering the country’s incarceration rate.
When removing the outlier of the United States, a level of variance between countries is apparent. This variance in incarceration rates among OECD countries suggests cultural differences in societal views towards punishment and rehabilitation. The Scandinavian preference of rehabilitation and the subsequently higher level of investment in such programs have resulted in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland ranking among those countries for whom the incarceration rate is the lowest.
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CountryIncarceration rate per 100,000 of national population
United States 655
Turkey 287
Israel 265
Chile 233
New Zealand 220
Czech Republic 209
Estonia 202
Poland 199
Slovakia 188
Hungary 184
Australia 167
Mexico 165
United Kingdom: England & Wales141
United Kingdom: Scotland138
Portugal 129
Spain 126
Luxembourg 115
Canada 114
South Korea 114
France 102
Italy 96
Belgium 94
Austria 94
Greece 93
Switzerland 82
Ireland 81
Germany 78
United Kingdom: Northern Ireland77
Norway 74
Slovenia 64
Netherlands 59
Denmark 59
Finland 57
Sweden 57
Japan 45
Iceland 38
CountryIncarceration rate per 100,000 of national population
United States 655
Turkey 287
Israel 265
Chile 233
New Zealand 220
Czech Republic 209
Estonia 202
Poland 199
Slovakia 188
Hungary 184
Australia 167
Mexico 165
United Kingdom: England & Wales141
United Kingdom: Scotland138
Portugal 129
Spain 126
Luxembourg 115
Canada 114
South Korea 114
France 102
Italy 96
Belgium 94
Austria 94
Greece 93
Switzerland 82
Ireland 81
Germany 78
United Kingdom: Northern Ireland77
Norway 74
Slovenia 64
Netherlands 59
Denmark 59
Finland 57
Sweden 57
Japan 45
Iceland 38
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Description Source More information
This statistic shows the incarceration rate in OECD countries, as of May 2018. The incarceration rate represents the number of people in prison per 100,000 of population. As of May 2018, the incarceration rate in the United States was 655 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents.
Additional information on incarceration patterns between countries

The relatively large population of the United States when compared with other OECD countries in conjunction with the country’s extremely high incarceration rate means that the United States houses more than one half of the global prison population. Recent attention has been focused on the number of people imprisoned for minor offences. As such, a large proportion of the United States prison population have been incarcerated for offences that would see them fined or punished through alternative means in other developed countries.
Among this cohort are a significant number of people imprisoned for low-level drug related crimes. Critics have suggested that shifting policy toward drug rehabilitation for users and a focus on high level drug traffickers would have a positive societal effect whilst also lowering the country’s incarceration rate.
When removing the outlier of the United States, a level of variance between countries is apparent. This variance in incarceration rates among OECD countries suggests cultural differences in societal views towards punishment and rehabilitation. The Scandinavian preference of rehabilitation and the subsequently higher level of investment in such programs have resulted in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland ranking among those countries for whom the incarceration rate is the lowest.
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Release date
May 2018
Region
Worldwide
Survey time period
As of May, 2018

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