A vicious cycle of degradation: America’s prison problem and its ‘war on drugs’

25% of the world’s prison population are housed in America, a country with 5% of the world’s population. It has the largest prison population in the world as well as the highest incarceration rate other than the Seychelles. The incarceration rate of 707 per 100,000 inhabitants is close to 5 times the rate of the UK while the prison population of more than 2.2m, is nearly 600,000 higher than China, a country more than 4 times it’s size. Add to this the 4.8m people on parole or probation and the result is that 2.9% of the US adult resident population (or the entire population of Hong Kong) is under correctional supervision.

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