The United States And The World 's Inmate Population Essay example

1505 Words Apr 15th, 2016 7 Pages
The United States is home to dreamers, inventors, creators, teachers, apprentices, and achievers. It is arguably the most prominent nation in the world, though only five percent of the global population lives there (Hudson). Therefore, it is shocking and uncomfortable to discover that, while its population is quite small in comparison with other nations, the U.S. houses a quarter of the world’s inmate population (Hudson). Furthermore, the United States’ prison population adds up to a whopping 2.2 million people (Sidlow and Henschen 335), beating out the next highest nation, China, by nearly 600,000 prisoners (Walmsley). Given that China is home to 1.3 billion people, their incarceration rate of 1.6 million is slightly more understandable, adding up to 0.13 percent of their total population. The United States, however, has no excuse for having 0.72 percent of its total population incarcerated. It is puzzling as to why the U.S., a country founded on the principles of democracy and freedom, has more inmates than any other nation in the world, including China, a communist country (Walmsley). Looking only at numbers, it is clear that there is something wrong with the current prison system in the U.S. With a closer look, it is evident that mass incarceration is not the only problem American prisons are facing.
The incarceration rate in the U.S. was not always so surprisingly high; in fact, it has quadrupled in the past forty years (Sidlow and Henschen 335). In 1970,…

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