Here Are All Of The Nations That Incarcerate More Of Their Population Than The U.S.

08/13/2013 08:21 am ET | Updated May 04, 2015
  • Nick Wing Senior Viral Editor, The Huffington Post

A lot has been reported about our nation's prison system and its bloated population, but this is what it looks like when you take all of the countries that jail more people than we do and put them into one GIF.

tumbleweed

Yeah, we're actually number one and that's not a good thing.

No country incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than the United States. At 716 per 100,000 people in 2013, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the U.S. tops every other nation in the world.

Among OECD countries, the competition isn't even close -- Israel comes in second, at 223 per 100,000.

According to advance 2012 counts by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the U.S. prison population was 1,571,013 at yearend. That's actually a decline for the third consecutive year. Including local and city jail figures, however, that number easily tops two million, around 25 percent of the entire world's prisoners.

On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced sweeping plans designed to address the issue through drug-sentencing reform. Holder's blueprint included plans to divert low-level drug offenders to treatment and community service programs and implement an expanded prison program to allow for the release of some elderly, non-violent offenders.

"We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate - not merely to convict, warehouse and forget," Holder said in remarks to the American Bar Association in San Francisco. "Although incarceration has a role to play in our justice system, widespread incarceration at the federal, state and local levels is both ineffective and unsustainable. ... It imposes a significant economic burden -- totaling $80 billion in 2010 alone -- and it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate."

Also on HuffPost:

People Killed By The War On Drugs

CONVERSATIONS