Nationmaster: Countries by Crime: Prisoners – Per capita.:
A wonderful website for comparing countries. I don’t have much time to do an extended comparison now but some numbers just jumped out at me.
First – the number of prisoners in each country. Austria – 8,114. The United States – 2,078,570.
Fine, you say. The United States has thirty times the population. So what?
Break it down per capita. The United States has 715 prisoners per capita. Austria has 100.
For that matter Finland has 71.
Moral of the story – treat people decently, provide basic social services and health care – and not too many of them break the law/need to be imprisoned.
I would defend the above on human grounds. But for the utilitarian/capitalism enthusiasts out there, that’s a big prison bill saved. Court bills saved, judges salaries saved.
Another interesting statistic – 33% of the incarcerated population in Austria is foreign. It is even higher in Switzerland – 70.8%. In the United States it is only .5%.
Some might want to call out xenophobe. I think differently. Foreigners don’t have the same training in abiding laws as the native population in these countries and thus often make the mistake of breaking them.
When crime is low, the police are remarkably efficient at finding criminals.