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Concept.png US/Prison 
OECD incarceration rates per 100,000 citizens, by International Centre for Prison Studies
The highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world

US prisons lock up far more people than any other country, both proportionally and in absolute numbers.[1]


The number of people imprisoned under state and federal custody increased 772% percent between 1970 and 2009, largely due to the incredible influence private corporations wield against the American legal system.[2]

War on Drugs

Full article: Rated 4/5 “War on Drugs”

The singular position of the self-styled 'land of the free' deserves special mention in an article on prisons, since it has lead the global "war on drugs", which has been a boon to the private prison industry.


Suicide is one of the biggest causes of death in U.S. jails and hit a high of 50 deaths for every 100,000 inmates in 2014.[3]

Life sentences

In 2012, almost 160,000 US prisoners were serving life sentences. Of these, 49,000 are serving life without possibility of parole, an increase of 22% since 2008. The ACLU reported that over 3000 of these were for minor, non-violent crimes, for example theft of a jacket valued at $159. The reports wrote that the US was “virtually alone in its willingness to sentence non-violent offenders to die behind bars.” Life without parole for nonviolent sentences has been ruled a violation of human rights by the European Court of Human Rights.[4]

Strip searches

In 2019 "An 8-year-old girl was stripped naked and searched by Virginia Department of Corrections staff after she was led to believe refusal would result in not being allowed to see her father".[5]


US prisoners have reported being tortured to the point of unconsciousness by guards.[6][7]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Private Prisons Criminalized RapLetter, E-Mail24 April 2012Unknown