New York imprisons people twice as much as most NATO countries: report

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) — An incarceration rate of 500 means that, within a given population, there are 500 incarcerated individuals for every 100,000. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, New York’s incarceration rate of 317 is more than double that of most of our international allies.

According to the World Prison Brief, the U.S. takes the No. 6 overall spot in the world for incarceration rates at 531. The Prison Policy Initiative characterizes it as the independent democracy with the worst numbers. Only El Salvador (1,086), Cuba (794), Rwanda (637), Turkmenistan (576), and American Samoa (538) lock up a greater proportion of their populace.

New York incarcerates people at well below the national average, per capita, at 317. Only New Hampshire (278), Maine (272), New Jersey (270), Rhode Island (254), Vermont (245), and Massachusetts (241) rank lower. Even so, despite New York’s apparent reputation for wokeness in the U.S., its rate is over twice as much as most other NATO nations, and higher than Iran (228), Iraq (179), Colombia (198), Israel (217), Russia (300), or China (165).

If New York were an independent country, it would rank 16th in the world, with an incarceration rate just slightly lower than Nicaragua.

Prison Policy Initiative

That incarceration rate represents an outlier among developed countries. Our closest national peer, the U.K., boasts a rate of 144. And advocates argue that such sky-high local rates represent a losing battle with poverty and mental health issues.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) said, “Since 1999, the state’s prison population has declined by 54.1 percent, from a high of 72,649 incarcerated individuals to 33,382 as of July 27. This drastic decline began with the reform of the Rockefeller drug laws and has continued due to progressive criminal justice reforms leading to decreased crime levels in the state.”

The report included data from carceral facilities with no connection to DOCCS. The department spokesperson also made the careful distinction that DOCCS upholds sentences determined by the court system, but does not convict individuals or sentence them.

And, “Our state locks up a higher percentage of its people than the vast majority of nations,” said Naila Awan, co-interim director of policy at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “For our state to truly respond to the mass incarceration crisis, we must reduce the likelihood a person will be ensnared in the criminal legal system in the first instance, revisit sentencing, and take meaningful steps to decarcerate.”

The states with the highest incarceration rates, per the Prison Policy Initiative’s “States of Incarceration” report, are:

  1. Louisiana (1,067)
  2. Mississippi (1,020)
  3. Arkansas (912)
  4. Oklahoma (905)
  5. Alabama (898)
  6. Kentucky (889)
  7. Georgia (881)
  8. Tennessee (817)
  9. South Dakota (812)

Powered by News Channel 9.

Related Articles

Back to top button