An important link between crime and punishment can be analyzed statistically through a society’s crime clearance rate. The clearance rate is defined as the number of crimes for which a charge was laid divided by the total number of recorded crimes. A look at the crime clearance rate in the United States by type suggests that clearance rates are higher for violent crimes than non-violent crimes. This is backed up by comparison between clearance rates for violent crime and all crime in Canada, as well as with Finland where the clearance rate for murders, manslaughters, and killings has been impressively high.
In regards to incarceration rates, the reputation of the United States as having an unusually high prison population is supported by the data. Incarceration rates of OECD countries show that the incarceration rate in the United States is almost triple that of many of their counterparts. As our infographic shows, these rates have led to the U.S. prison population accounting for more than one fifth of the global total despite the country’s general population share being less than five percent. In the Asia-Pacific region, India and Papua New Guinea have incredibly low incarceration rates by comparison, with 32 and 64 per 100,000 population respectively in 2015.