Although the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, Johnson County Iowa, with an average of 160 to 200 inmates, has a lower incarceration rate (per 100,000) than many countries – at times dropping as low as Venezuela and China. To reach even lower levels, such as those of Portugal, we will (like Portugal) need to have drug laws reformed and provide social programs.

Our current jail was built to accommodate 46 inmates. This would be an adequate size if Johnson County was in Yemen, Sudan, or Gambia. However, given that the average for the U.S. would is about 730 incarcerations (per 100,000), a slightly larger jail is needed.

Optimists believe that jail alternatives and diversion programs will allow Johnson County to sustain a 243-bed jail, brining us well below the U.S. average (67% smaller) to be comparable with Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.

To support the smaller jail initiative, visit JCJusticeCenter.com

World-wide Incarceration Rates
[source]

Rank Country (or dependent territory) Prisoners per
100,000
population
Source (notes)
1  United States 730 ICPS
2  St. Kitts and Nevis 649 ICPS
3  U.S. Virgin Islands (USA) 539 ICPS
4  Georgia 536 ICPS
5  Russia 522 ICPS
6  Seychelles 507 ICPS
7  Anguilla (UK) 480 ICPS
8  Rwanda 450 ICPS (c.)
9  British Virgin Islands (UK) 439 ICPS
10  Bermuda (UK) 428 ICPS
11  Curaçao (Netherlands) 422 ICPS
12  Belize 415 ICPS
13  Grenada 402 ICPS
14  El Salvador 391 ICPS
15  Cayman Islands (UK) 385 ICPS
16  Bahamas 382 ICPS
17  Belarus 381 ICPS
18  St. Vincent and the Grenadines 379 ICPS
19  Palau 378 ICPS
20  St. Maarten (Netherlands) 374 ICPS
21  Dominica 356 ICPS
22  Barbados 354 ICPS
23  Panama 349 ICPS
24  Greenland (Denmark) 340 ICPS
25  Ukraine 338 ICPS
26  Iran 333 ICPS
27  Thailand 331 ICPS
28  Antigua and Barbuda 330 ICPS
29  Guam (USA) 328 ICPS
30  Kazakhstan 323 ICPS
30  St. Lucia 323 ICPS
32  Maldives 311 ICPS (c.)
33  South Africa 310 ICPS
34  Latvia 304 ICPS
35  Puerto Rico (USA) 303 ICPS
36  French Guiana (France) 297 ICPS (c.)
36  Tunisia 297 ICPS
38  Chile 295 ICPS
39  Costa Rica 289 ICPS
40  Guyana 284 ICPS
41  Taiwan 283 ICPS
42  Lithuania 276 ICPS
43  Trinidad and Tobago 271 ICPS
44  Aruba (Netherlands) 269 ICPS
44  Mongolia 269 ICPS
46  Uruguay 268 ICPS
47  Botswana 267 ICPS
48  Brazil 261 ICPS
49  Cape Verde 253 ICPS (c.)
50  Estonia 252 ICPS
51  Singapore 249 ICPS
52  Gibraltar (UK) 238 ICPS
52  United Arab Emirates 238 ICPS
54  Israel 236 ICPS
55  Azerbaijan 228 ICPS
56  Montenegro 227 ICPS
57  Czech Republic 225 ICPS
58  Turkmenistan 224 ICPS
59  Swaziland 219 ICPS
60  Martinique (France) 217 ICPS
60  Poland 217 ICPS
62  Dominican Republic 210 ICPS
63  Libya 203 ICPS
64  Mexico 201 ICPS
65  American Samoa (USA) 198 ICPS
66  Gabon 196 ICPS
67  Morocco 194 ICPS
68  New Zealand 190 ICPS
69  Namibia 186 ICPS
70  Macau (China) 185 ICPS
70  São Tomé and Príncipe 185 ICPS
72  Slovakia 184 ICPS
73  Mauritius 182 ICPS
73  Moldova 182 ICPS
75  Colombia 181 ICPS
75  Kyrgyzstan 181 ICPS
77  Peru 176 ICPS
78  Suriname 175 ICPS
79  Turkey 174 ICPS
80  Hungary 173 ICPS
81  Guernsey (UK) 172 ICPS
82  New Caledonia (France) 171 ICPS
83  Guadeloupe (France) 169 ICPS
84  Samoa 168 ICPS
85  Jersey (UK) 167 ICPS
86  Jamaica 163 ICPS
87  Réunion (France) 161 ICPS
88  Saudi Arabia 160 ICPS (c.)
89  Scotland (UK) 157 ICPS
90  Algeria 156 ICPS
90  England &  Wales (UK) 156 ICPS
92  Honduras 154 ICPS
92  Serbia 154 ICPS
94  Tonga 153 ICPS
95  French Polynesia (France) 152 ICPS
95  Spain 152 ICPS
95  Uzbekistan 152 ICPS (c.)
98  Venezuela 149 ICPS
99  Albania 147 ICPS
99  Romania 147 ICPS
101  Armenia 146 ICPS
102  Argentina 145 ICPS
103  Fiji 144 ICPS
104  Northern Mariana Islands (USA) 142 ICPS
105  Malta 141 ICPS
106  Nauru 139 ICPS
107  Malaysia 138 ICPS
108  Kuwait 137 ICPS
109  Bahrain 136 ICPS
109  Ethiopia 136 ICPS
111  Bhutan 135 ICPS
112  Hong Kong (China) 133 ICPS
113  Tajikistan 130 ICPS
114  Australia 129 ICPS
114  Sri Lanka 129 ICPS
116  Isle of Man (UK) 127 ICPS
117  Kenya 126 ICPS
117  Zambia 126 ICPS
119  Luxembourg 124 ICPS
120  Portugal 123 ICPS
121  China 122 ICPS
121  Lebanon 122 ICPS
121  Vietnam 122 ICPS
124  Zimbabwe 121 ICPS (c.)
125  Bulgaria 120 ICPS
125  Lesotho 120 ICPS
125  Burma 120 ICPS
128  Cameroon 119 ICPS
128  Nicaragua 119 ICPS
130  Canada 117 ICPS
130  Croatia 117 ICPS
132  France 115 ICPS
133  Burundi 114 ICPS
133  Macedonia 114 ICPS
135  Bolivia 112 ICPS
136  Cyprus 110 ICPS
136  Philippines 110 ICPS
138  Cook Islands (New Zealand) 109 ICPS
138  Italy 109 ICPS
140  Cambodia 105 ICPS
141  Austria 104 ICPS
141  Mayotte (France) 104 ICPS
143  Kiribati 102 ICPS
144  Greece 101 ICPS
144  Iraq 101 ICPS
146  Northern Ireland (UK) 99 ICPS
147  Belgium 97 ICPS
147  Paraguay 97 ICPS
149  Ireland 95 ICPS
149  Jordan 95 ICPS
151  South Korea 94 ICPS
152  Brunei 93 ICPS
152  Madagascar 93 ICPS
154  Uganda 92 ICPS
155  Federated States of Micronesia 90 ICPS
156  South Sudan 89 ICPS (c.)
157  Angola 87 ICPS
157  Netherlands 87 ICPS
159  Ecuador 86 ICPS
160  Tanzania 85 ICPS
161  Germany 83 ICPS
162  Egypt 81 ICPS
163  Tuvalu 80 ICPS
164  Guatemala 77 ICPS
165  Switzerland 76 ICPS
165  Vanuatu 76 ICPS
167  Benin 75 ICPS
167  Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 75 ICPS
169  Denmark 74 ICPS
170  Andorra 73 ICPS
170  Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 73 ICPS
170  Malawi 73 ICPS
170  Norway 73 ICPS
174  Monaco 70 ICPS
174  Sweden 70 ICPS
176  Laos 69 ICPS
177  Djibouti 68 ICPS (c.)
177  Marshall Islands 68 ICPS
179  Mozambique 67 ICPS
180  Kosovo 66 ICPS (c.)
181  Slovenia 64 ICPS
182  Afghanistan 62 ICPS
183  Oman 61 ICPS
183  Papua New Guinea 61 ICPS
185  Senegal 60 ICPS
186  Finland 59 ICPS
186  Indonesia 59 ICPS
186  Togo 59 ICPS
189  Syria 58 ICPS
190  Democratic Republic of Congo 57 ICPS (c.)
191  Cote d’Ivoire 56 ICPS
191  Ghana 56 ICPS
193  Haiti 55 ICPS
193  Japan 55 ICPS
195  Mauritania 50 ICPS
196  Solomon Islands 49 ICPS
197  Yemen 48 ICPS
198  Iceland 47 ICPS
199  Gambia 45 ICPS
199  Sudan 45 ICPS
201  Niger 43 ICPS (c.)
202  Bangladesh 42 ICPS
202  Nepal 42 ICPS
204  Qatar 41 ICPS
205  Pakistan 40 ICPS
206  Sierra Leone 39 ICPS
207  Liberia 37 ICPS
208  Chad 34 ICPS
209  Mali 32 ICPS
210  Burkina Faso 31 ICPS
211  India 30 ICPS
211  Nigeria 30 ICPS
213  Central African Republic 29 ICPS
214  Guinea 28 ICPS
215  Congo 26 ICPS (c.)
216  Faroe Islands (Denmark) 21 ICPS
217  Timor-Leste 20 ICPS
218  Comoros 19 ICPS (c.)
218  Liechtenstein 19 ICPS

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