Friday, June 09, 2006

US Leads World in Law Services and Prisoners

A couple of amazing stats:

Worldwide spending on legal services amounts to about $250 billion a year, some two-thirds of it in America. (via the Economist)

The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 714 per 100,000 of the national population. This is over ten times(!) the rate of Denmark or Finland. (via World Prison Population List)

In total the US has 2.09 million prisoners and 23% of all prisoners in the world. ( via Prison Policy)

That just blows me away. The US has 5% of total world population, 23% of all prisoners and 2/3 of all legal services.


al fin said...

The US is probably the most diverse nation in the world. Diversity tracks with crime rates. Europe is getting more diverse, and crime rates are tracking up with that trend.

If the US ever decides to go easier on victimless crimes, prison population might go down a little. More likely, the freed resources would allow catching more violent offenders and putting them away for longer time periods.

mping said...


I am not sure what the correlation is between diversity and crime.

In the case of the US, incarceration rates have shot up over the last 10 years and I don't think an increase in diversity explains it. I think it has to do with get tough on crime laws and the tough stance on drug users. If the US were to take a different tactic on the war on drugs, I think we would significantly reduce the prison population.

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