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Number of prisoners Asia 2020 by country or region

China had, by far, the highest number of prisoners of any Asian country or region in 2020, with over 1.7 million prisoners. India followed with approximately 466 thousand prisoners while Bhutan had just 1.12 thousand prisoners.

Prison populations and total populations

  Indeed, China had the highest number of prisoners throughout the Asia Pacific region in 2020. However, given the country’s astronomical total population, it does not seem surprising that it would have a higher prison population than countries with smaller populations. Bhutan, which had the smallest prison population, had a higher serious assault rate than other Asia Pacific counties.

Crime rates

  The varying size of prison populations throughout Asia can be attributed to the size of the general populations, although there are other factors which can also be taken into consideration. Across Asia there exists many different justice systems and as such the crime rate varies greatly across the different countries which make up the region. Therefore, a comparison of crime throughout the region can be challenging. Although China had a higher prison population, it had a lower intentional homicide rate compared to other Asian Pacific countries and regions. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong have historically low corruption index scores. Whereas countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar have recorded higher index scores. These countries have experienced past political and social instability which can be said to impact the level of crime and corruption which has taken place throughout recent years.

Number of prisoners in Asia in 2020, by country or region

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Release date

August 2020



Survey time period

as of August 18, 2020

Supplementary notes

Source did not provide release date. Date displayed is the date of access.

Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Crime and penitentiary system in China"

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