As summarized from States of Incarceration: The Global Context Report:
In a simple graphic (seen in the report), the Prison Policy Initiative charted the comparative incarceration rates of every U.S. state alongside the world’s nations. While there are certainly important differences between how U.S. states handle incarceration, placing each state in a global context reveals that incarceration policy in every region of this country is out of step with the rest of the world.
If we compare the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states and territories with that of other nations, for example, we see that 36 states and the District of Columbia have incarceration rates higher than that of Cuba, which is the nation with the second highest incarceration rate in the world.
The States of Incarceration: The Global Context report concludes, these data reveal that even the U.S. states that incarcerate the smallest portion of their own citizens are out of step with the larger community of nations. As U.S. states continue to reevaluate their own hefty reliance on incarceration, we recommend that they look to the broader global context for evidence that incarceration need not be the default response to larger social problems.
The report was a collaboration between Peter Wagner, Executive Director at the Prison Policy Initiative, Leah Sakala, Senior Policy Analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative, and Josh Begley.
To read the full report, visit the Prison Policy Initiative website.