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World Prison Population List

NCJ Number
R Walmsley
Date Published
6 pages
This report gives details of the number of prisoners held in approximately 180 independent countries and dependent territories, and estimates the world prison population total.
More than 8 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, either as pretrial detainees (remand prisoners) or having been convicted and sentenced. More than half of these are in the United States (1.7 million), China (1.4 million) or Russia (1 million). Russia has the highest prison population rate, followed by the US, the Cayman Islands, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Belize, the Bahamas and Singapore. Prison population rates vary considerably between regions of the world and between different parts of the same continent. For example, the median rate for southern African countries is more than four times the median rate for western and central African countries; the median rate for Caribbean countries is three times that for South American countries; and the median rate for central and eastern European countries is four times that for southern European countries. Tables