Land Of The Free, Home Of The Imprisoned: A Comparison Of Incarceration Rates Among The U.S. And Other Industrialized Nations

Tate Fegley



The United States has by far the highest incarceration rate in the world. This has not always been so. Before 1980, incarceration rates per 100,000 in the U.S. were less than half of what they are now. Higher crime rates are not a valid explanation.In fact, some have argued that there is no correlation between crime rates and incarceration rates. This paper will analyze the reasons why so much reliance has been put on incarceration in the U.S., why other countries (particularly those in Western Europe and Canada) have significantly lower incarcerationrates, and the policy implications for the U.S. criminal justice system.

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