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Which country has the largest population in prison? - Answers

Questions answered : 1328||Last updated on : October 22nd, 2019 At 09:57am (ET)
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Which country has the largest population in prison?

World Map showing countries with largest prison population

The United States of America has the maximum number of inmates in prisons – 2,145,100.

The Top 20 countries holding maximum prison inmates:

Rank Country Prison Population
1 USA 2,145,100
2 China 1,649,804
3 Brazil 670,111
4 Russian Federation 602,176
5 India 419,623
6 Thailand 325,298
7 Indonesia 232,063
8 Turkey 229,790
9 Iran 225,624
10 Mexico 208,689
11 Philippines 178,661
12 South Africa 161,054
13 Colombia 115,383
14  Vietnam 115,035
15 Ethiopia 113,727
16 Egypt 106,000
17 Peru 85,621
18 United (England & Wales) 84,537
19  Pakistan 84,315
20 Morocco 80,000

The United States has a population of 328.2 million, one-fourth of China’s, but holds nearly 500,000 inmates more than China. China has a population of 1.42 billion and is closely followed by India, at 1.34 billion. But China holds almost four times the number of inmates than India. Thailand has a population of 68.6 million but holds a higher number of inmates as compared to Indonesia, which has a population of 266.4 million, nearly four times the size of Thailand.

North Korea does not make it to the list as no official records are available for that country.

World Map showing countries with prison population per 100,000 people

The Top 20 countries with Prison Population Rate per 100,000:

Rank Country Prison Population Rate per 100,000
1 Seychelles 738
2 USA 666
3 El Salvador 614
4 Turkmenistan 583
5 Virgin Islands (USA) 542
6 Maldives 514
7 Cuba 510
8 Northern Marianna Islands (USA) 482
9 Thailand 471
10 Bahamas 439
11 Guam (USA) 438
12 Grenada 435
13 Rwanda 434
14 Virgin Islands (UK) 425
15 Russian Federation 410
16 Panama 393
16 St. Kitts and Nevis 393
17 St. Vincent and Grenadines 378
18 Costa Rica 374
19 Cayman Islands (UK) 359

The numbers change significantly when prison population per 100,000 people is considered. Seychelles holds Somali pirates in their prisons, and this inflates the statistics against the nation. These pirates are initially tried in Seychelles and later transferred to their home countries. Most island countries with small population rank high on this list.

In China’s case, a country with 1.42 billion people, the largest population in the world, holds the second largest number of prison inmates (as per available data). However, it ranks 134th in the world in population ratio ranking per 100,000 with 118 inmates.

World Map showing top 20 countries by Pre-trial detainees as % to total Inmates

Top 20 countries by Pre-trial detainees / Remand detainees as a percentage of total inmates:

Rank Country Pre-trial detainees %
1 San Marino 100
2 Libya 90
3 Paraguay 77.9
3 Bangladesh 77.9
4 Benin 74.9
5 Philippines 74.4
6 Democratic Republic of Congo 73
7 Haiti 72
8 Venezuela 71.3
9 Cambodia 70.6
10 The central African Republic 70.2
11 Yemen 70.1
12 Uruguay 69.7
13 Andorra 69.2
14 Pakistan 69.1
15 Bolivia 69
16 Monaco 67.9
17 Guinea Bissau 67.9
18 Nigeria 67.5
19 India 67.2

Visit the following to learn more about Crime and Prisons:

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