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