Even the most liberal state in America has a higher incarceration rate than most other countries around the world, according to a new analysis from the Prison Policy Initiative.
The high incarceration rates — and the financial costs that come with them — have been a growing concern for federal and state lawmakers in recent years, particularly as they deal with constrained budgets in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The financial burden is so high that both Democrats and Republicans in state governments have been working to relax their drug and incarceration laws over the past five years.
But even with reforms, Vermont, the state with the lowest incarceration rate, still imprisons people at far higher rates than countries like New Zealand, the UK, and even conflict-torn Israel.
See the disparity between the US, its states, and the rest of the world in this massive chart, which can be clicked to enlarge: