The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation comprised of 34 countries, representing many of the wealthier countries in the world. Its members include North American countries (Canada, Mexico and the U.S.), much of Western Europe, as well as New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Israel, Japan and South Korea. Data from the OECD is readily available online and makes for a great data source for cross-country comparisons.
In this particular study, we examined the incarceration rate, as defined by the prison population per 100,000 national population. When we look across the OECD countries, we see that the U.S. has an incarceration rate that is off the charts compared to other wealthy countries. In 2008, the U.S. had a rate of 760 prisoners per 100,000 population or more than seven times higher than the median rate for OECD countries. The country with the next highest rate was Israel (325 prisoners per 100,000 population) with Chile (317 prisoners per 100,000 population) and Estonia (273 prisoners per 100,000 population) being the only other OECD countries with rates over 250 prisoners per 100,000.[Original: Huffington Post]