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US leads world in prison inmate numbers: NYT

[JURIST] US prisons currently house the world's largest inmate population, according to a Wednesday New York Times report [text] citing data provided by the International Center for Prison Studies [organization website]. The US currently holds 2.3 million inmates, far more than second-in-line China [JURIST news archive], which holds only 1.6 million inmates even though its population is four times that of the US. On a per capita scale, the US also leads worldwide inmate populations, with 751 people imprisoned for every 100,000 in population, compared with 627 inmates for every 100,000 people in Russia, 151 for every 100,000 in England, and 88 for every 100,000 in Germany [JURIST news archives]. The report attributes the high inmate numbers to several factors, including the prevalence of prison sentences for nonviolent crimes, rigorous anti-drug campaigns, and the ready availability of guns.

In February, a report [PDF text; JURIST report] by the Pew Center on the States (PCS) [organization website] found that one in every 100 US adults is currently in prison.

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