The U.S. locks up far more people than any other nation. Check out this incredible infographic

Originally published at: The U.S. locks up far more people than any other nation. Check out this incredible infographic | Boing Boing


Holy shit, the endless scrolling.

But hey, we’re the bestest most freest country on earth, right? /s

angry work GIF


Fucking hell! That’s appalling.


In 2008, the US incarceration rate peaked at 760 people per 100,000 Americans[1].
This is comparable to the rate at which people were imprisoned in the USSR at the height of Stalin’s repression (estimates vary from 714 to 890 per 100,000).

This is before accounting for race.

Black Americans are 2.6 times more likely to be imprisoned by the United states than Soviet citizens were at the height of Stalinist repression.


It’s interesting that “Americans Killed in Wars” is kind of a thing.

Not in a nice way, but interesting nonetheless…


Yike! It is just as well that White (not Latinx) people are so well-behaved.


That incarceration rate for non-Latino whites is still three times larger than the incarceration rates seen in western Europe.

No matter how you look at it, the USA resembles a police state.


I was dicking around Amazon Prime Video last night, and thought to check out this Cops UK show.

I only caught a few episodes but one of the things that stuck out is how lightly offenders were likely to get off. There were several people who actively fought back while being arrested, giving police scrapes and bruises. The added penalty for assaulting an officer? Something like a 150 GBP fine and 50 GBP restitution.


At least we’re in good compa… [checks graphic again] never mind.


About 1 in 3 black men will go to prison at some point in his life. Not jail, prison .

What is the fine technical difference in the USA? Genuine question. I’d use those words interchangeably, here in UK.


prison is usually reserved for felonies. murder, etc. jail is for lower level crimes and for people who can’t afford bail ( generally. )

the level of security is different so there are fewer prisons. which means while jails might be close to home, prisons might be even in a different state. ( which implies you probably don’t see your loved ones )

county jails might have dormitory style sleeping. prisons usually have traditional cells.

all of them make you pay for toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, phone cards. you either have family members paying for you, or your in debt when you get out. calling jail or prison is wildly expensive.


You can be in jail without being sentenced by a judge, awaiting trial or whatever.


yeah. this story breaks my heart

rikers is technically a jail, ten different jails, but people often refer to it as a prison.

mea culpa: digging this article up, i also read that technically it’s not the severity of the crime that determines jail or prison, it’s length of sentence. since those are roughly correlated that was my confusion. though, as per the above you can be held in jail for many years.

guilty until proven innocent i guess


Land of the Free* and home of the Brave**

*Certain exceptions apply
**Except in regards to minorities, addicts, people with mental illness and poor people in general. Those folks scare the shit out of us.


I don’t know the technical difference. I can say that once, at 19 years old, I was arrested for “resisting arrest” on a Friday. After getting booked and sitting for 5 hours in a local jail (small, cells kind of open to the general office area, a pass-through type facility) they woke me up and drove me 80 miles away to await trial at a “correctional facility” that meets the description of what a lot of people here are describing as prison.
My cell mate said she was in for stabbing her husband to death (she was very kind, I’m sure she had her reasons). Others were in for drinking while on probation. I was in because I didn’t have a photo ID on me when the cops decided to hassle the group I was with (not breaking any laws).
Our “justice” system is really messed up in the US. I know it’s way worse for BIPOC, but it’s not great for poor white folk, either. I bailed myself out from my savings, and they waited until a bit after midnight a day and a half later to kick me out of the prison, 80 miles away from where they’d picked me up, with no money. This was before cellphones, and totally unnecessary.


Jail is generally local and for under a year or pretrial. Beyond that the differences vary by location within the US. My city jail is basically a bench at the police station. My county jail is similar to a medium security prison with fewer exercise options. Even within the US, people without meaningful interaction with our legal system don’t always make the distinction.


The answer from the creator of the infographic:

The terms “jail” and “prison” are not interchangeable. A jail is a place where accused criminals are held while awaiting trial, or where convicted criminals serve short sentences for minor crimes. Jails are typically operated by county or city governments. A prison is an institution where convicted criminals are held for serious crimes, typically serving sentences of a year or more. Prisons are typically operated by the federal or state governments. Rikers Island is a jail. Sing sing is a prison.


I thought I point to one or two episodes of “Last Week Tonight”, but then I was surprised myself, how often this has been a topic on the show already:


Yes, that’s always a possibility:


Eliminating for-profit prisons would probably help, too.