● 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 pre- trial 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. (The rate in England and Wales – 148 per 100,000 of the national population – is above the mid-point in the World List.)
● Prison population rates vary considerably between different regions of the world, and between different parts of the same continent.
The International Centre for Prison Studies
A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management
World Female Prison Population List 2006