Monday, April 16, 2007

imprisonment rates for 214 countries

the european society of criminology's april newsletter features an andrew coyle piece on imprisonment, reprinting data from roy wamsley's extensive 2007 world prison population list (7th ed.). the data seem well-suited for those seeking a punishment indicator for quantitative analysis, especially for those of us who are loath to impute punishment information or drop nations from the analysis due to missing data.

a few substantive summary points from the report:
  • More than 9.25 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, mostly as pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or as sentenced prisoners. Almost half of these are in the United States (2.19m), China (1.55m plus pretrial detainees and prisoners in ‘administrative detention’) or Russia (0.87m).
  • The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 738 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (611), St Kitts & Nevis (547), U.S. Virgin Is. (521), Turkmenistan (c.489), Belize (487), Cuba (c.487), Palau (478), British Virgin Is. (464), Bermuda (463), Bahamas (462), Cayman Is. (453), American Samoa (446), Belarus (426) and Dominica (419). However, more than three fifths of countries (61%) have rates below 150 per 100,000.
  • Prison populations are growing in many parts of the world. Updated information on countries included in previous editions of the World Prison Population List shows that prison populations have risen in 73% of these countries (in 64% of countries in Africa, 84% in the Americas, 81% in Asia, 66% in Europe and 75% in Oceania).

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