Washington: US is World's Leading Jailer: HRW


Washington, Jun 7: The United States has 2.3 million people behind bars, more than any other country in the world and more than ever before in its history, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

The number represents an incarceration rate of 762 per 100,000 residents, compared to 152 per 100,000 in Britain, 108 in Canada, and 91 in France, HRW said in a statement commenting on Justice Department figures also released on Friday.

''The new incarceration figures confirm the United States as the world's leading jailer,'' said David Fahti, HRW's US programme director.

''Americans should ask why the US locks up so many more people than do Canada, Britain, and other democracies,'' he added.

The newly released figures show a sharp racial imbalance in the US prison population, with blacks outnumbering whites by six to one.

Nearly 11 per cent of black men aged 30 to 34 are in prison, according to Justice Department figures.

HRW said blacks in the United States are 12 times more likely to be sent to jail for drug-related crimes than whites, even though drug use among the two races is almost the same.

''Although whites, being more numerous, constitute the large majority of drug users, blacks constitute 54 per cent of all persons entering state prisons with a new drug offence conviction,'' the rights group said.


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