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FACT CHECK TIME: Unbelievably, these numbers check out! For example, California has about 216,300 prisoners and Iran around 217,000. Illinois imprisons about 68,500 and Germany jails about 62,600.

These comparisons of total prison populations get especially staggering when you take into account the differences in total population of the states vs. the countries.

For example, Maine and Trinidad & Tobago both have populations around 1.3 million people, and their prison populations are comparable. But Texas and Mexico? Texas has 26 million people while Mexico has 120 million. How in the world do they have the same number of people in prison!?


The original creator of this map is unknown. Seriously, I looked EVERYWHERE. If you made this or know who did, let me know so I can get them the credit they deserve! I want to find them! Help!

I found this chart in the magical world of I Love Charts many moons ago when I was working on making a depressing-but-amazing little documentary about the prison-industrial complex called "The House I Live In" famous-er on the Internet. I no longer work for them, but it's a great movie. If you're interested, you can watch on Netflix and also other places.

And ... realtalk, there’s just no way I would care or know or understand as much as I do about the criminal justice system in America if I hadn’t seen "The Wire." Simply put, you’ve got to watch "The Wire." Go. It will make you A Better American (tm). pleasepleaseplease

If you don’t have five seasons of "The Wire" time RIGHT NOW, why not start with this little graphic here? Then go watch "The Wire."

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