In the United States we are a full percent lower! So one of the poorest and politically unstable micro-nations has surpassed what is often considered one of the wealthiest and most stable of nations. Now, in some places, people don't survive to become incarcerated, so some pretty sketchy places have low incarceration rates. Some places are so corrupt that incarcerating bullies, rapist and murders is not a priority
But, for a moment, think of what you THINK, without research or coaching, is the order of incarceration rates for the following nations:
Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Russia, Germany, France, Iran, Brazil, United States
If incarceration rates reasonably reflect the criminal behavior of the population of a nation then the following must indicate how much less criminal and dangerous other nations are compared to the United States:
United States over 7% of population is currently incarcerated, on parole or on probation when military and juvenile facilities are included.
Cuba United States of America has 140% more criminals than Cuba (incarceration rate: 5.1% of population)
Russia USA has 160% more criminals than Russia (4.4%) (The next highest "big/developed" nation)
Brazil USA has 230% more criminals than Brazil (3.0%) (Controversial home of the 2016 Olympic Games)
Iran USA has 240% more criminals than Iran (2.9%) (Where political incarceration is significant)
Mexico USA has 330% more criminals than Mexico (2.2%) (Where corruption/drug cartels plague the nation)
Canada USA has 660% more criminals than Canada (1.1%) (Where crime RATES are very comparable to USA)
Korea USA has 690% more criminals than Korea (1.0%) (Where crime rates are exceedingly low)
France USA has 690% more criminals than France (1%) (Where unemployment rates are crushing.)
Germany USA has 700% more criminal than Germany (.8%) (With high Muslim immigrant population)
In the United States of America, proud for it's championship of the under dog and being the champion of 2nd chances, has let its fear drive a situation where any internet search can bring up (often inaccurate) data, often which is used to exclude people with any "priors" (often without information on legal status or outcomes from charges filed). Certainly anyone that must answer "yes" to "EVER been arrested or convicted of a felony?" spends a lifetime with this dragging after them. Some states bar such questions, but few folks trying to rebuild their lives have the resources to fight such law-breaking from individuals in corporations, not-for-profits or governmental entities who choose to use this in screening without regard to the relationship between an arrest for a marijuana joint found in the back of a car 20 years ago versus a long history of violence and bullying, a conviction for getting behind on child support while unemployed versus a major drug dealer with years of bad behavior.
Unless you believe that people in the United States are hundreds of times more lawless than other places you go as a tourist or business traveler with little concern about crime, then it may be time to explore on your own so that you can be lobbying your elected representatives for their support of policies and laws that support truly safe and restorative communities. Or we will continue tolerating annual increases in support for the families of women and men that you think should never again have the opportunity to financially and emotionally and ethically support their children, aging spouses, aging parents and all the other folks who benefit from folks who are PAYING taxes on legally earned income, rather than honing skills for surfing the public assistance morasses to keep body and soul fed and sheltered.
Based on the current 7 in 100 who are incarcerated, on probation or parole, and the 95% who will be released back into society, and the 70% recidivism rates for facilities without effective rehabilitation/training programs (which are most of them) then the estimated 15 in 100 who have a conviction in the past affects the MAJORITY of families, add to that those who were arrested but never convicted and I assure you that in any church gathering, political gathering, volunteer meeting, civic organization meeting, sporting event, concert or crowded shopping mall, if there was a little red halo over every head that had ever tangled with the legal system, it would help the uninitiated to understand the level of damage that this does to a community. If you added all the people who had enough money to hire a really good lawyer so to escape the most egregious potential outcomes of a bad decision, it would be even more unsettling. If we added all of us who have done something stupid that, only because of luck or grace or social class, were spared public embarrassment and legal proceedings, then I'm reasonably certain that there would be an abysmally low number of red-halo free heads walking around.
If you can't think of a single family member or friend's family member who has experienced the opportunity to reevaluate their life from the defendant's seat in a court room or a prosecutor's office or a police holding cell, I would suggest that you just don't know that much about the folks you know. It is a secret sorrow in so very many families from ALL socio-economic and educational and family-structure backgrounds.
Gently start a discussion in line at the grocery store, or in a Bible class, or at the beauty shop and I suspect you will be amazed at the tears, furtive looks and, if they are desperate or feel they are in a safe place, you may hear a story or two that will break you heart -- not because they were unfairly treated, but because they have good cause to feel someone they love now has no future.
Don’t forget those who are in prison. Remember them as though you were in prison with them. And don’t forget those who are suffering. Remember them as though you were suffering with them. Hebrews 13:3