According to the January-February edition of Washington Monthly,
America has easily the highest incarceration rate in the world: 716 of every 100,000 residents are locked up, according to the most recent statistics, which comes to about 2.3 million people in prison or jail any given day. (Compare that to 118 of every 100,000 Canadians.) We have one-twentieth of the world’s population but one-quarter of its prisoners.
What does this mean?
Are we hopelessly lawless compared to the rest of the world?
Are our laws flawed? Or the manner in which we enforce them?
Are Americans just that much worse than everyone else in the world?
Or is this yet another example of the “American exceptionalism” that some people like to boast about as if it was declared by god?