When I saw this map I was kinda excited. What a really powerful way to show the extreme realities of prison populations in America! I may even have said, “Yay!” to myself. But then my brain processed those extreme realities and I was like ... damn. Is it possible to un-yay something?
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!?