The United States has experienced a precipitous rise in its state and federal prison population over the last forty years. During that period, the number of individuals incarcerated in our nation has risen from approximately 300,000 to more than 2 million. We now have the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 700 out of every 100,000 Americans behind bars. Our nation's incarceration rate is roughly 5 times the international average. By comparison, Germany incarcerates 85 per 100,000; France incarcerates 96 per 100,000; and Canada incarcerates 117 per 100,000. Only Rwanda comes anywhere near the U.S. rate, with 595 per 100,000.
Conyers, John Jr.
"The Incarceration Explosion,"
Yale Law & Policy Review:
2, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol31/iss2/4