Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interesting Comparison

Le nombre de détenus en France atteint un niveau historique

Le nombre de détenus dans les prisons françaises s'élevait à 64 584 au 1er mai, selon l'administration pénitentiaire. Le dernier pic historique (64 250) avait été enregistré en juillet 2008. (AFP)

Rikers Island, where DSK is being held, is a complex of ten prisons serving New York City alone. It holds 11,000 prisoners. So, 64,584 prisoners for a country of 60 million, 11,000 for a city of 8 million.


Kirk said...

According to Wikipedia (with a valid citation) there are 14,000 inmates. But, yea, lots of Americans in jail - is it 1% of the population? The vast majority for drug cases. There are far fewer arrests for drugs in France, and there is not - or at least I've never heard about it - problems with drugs such as crystal meth, abuse of prescription painkillers (at least not at the level of the US), or many other of the drugs that are used in the US.

Robert said...

In the US, the system is set up to imprison as many Latino and especially black young men as possible (disparities in drug sentencing: Exhibit A). It's not clear the French system works that way quite yet, so that's the biggest difference.

bernard said...

being potentially numerically challenged, I checked with my favourite spreadsheet, rectifying though French population which is 66 millions at last count I believe.

If there were proportionally as many prisoners in NYC as in France, and if indeed NYC only has 8 million inhabitants, then the number of prisoners should be 8,071 prisoners. As there 11,000 in reality, we conclude that there are 36% more prisoners in NYC, proportionally. Frankly, given the murder rates etc., I would have expected many more than that.

Anonymous said...

And remember that prisoners in Rikers are not on long sentences. Their sentences are short, or they're awaiting trial. So those numbers are skewed since, eventually, a lot of them will not end up in jail.

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

The important thing to note is that Rikers is a jail, not a prison. It holds people awaiting trial, and people on short sentences. The bulk of NYC prisoners are kept upstate.

The proper comparison would be the NY state prison (and jail) system as a whole, with the French prison system. You might have to double the number of NYS inhabitants, but you will far more than double the number of prisoners.