Land of the not so free

The US likes to refer to itself as “the land of the free” but as a new report (download pdf) points out America is the country that has the greatest number of its own citizens behind bars.

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it’s more than any other nation. (via Yahoo news)

This is far more than repressive countries like China and the former Soviet block, who are also among the top ten in this league. In addition to this America is also among the world foremost in capital punishment. According to Amnesty International, its 53 executions in 2006 were exceeded only by China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan.

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