Executive Education

These are the 20 countries with the most prisoners

It’s seemingly unbelievable that almost half of the world’s total prison population are in the United States, China or Russia, according to the Institute for Crimilnal Policy Research’s world prison population list.

At the top (or is it the bottom) is the United States, with a rate of 693 in 100,000 people in incarceration, U.S. has a total prison population of over 2.2 million; which is greater than the entire population of countries like Bahrain, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus.

These are the 20 countries with the largest number of prisoners:

1. United States of America
Prisoners: 2,217,947
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 693
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 9.3%

2. China
Prisoners: 1,649,804
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 118
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 6.5%

3. Russia
Prisoners: 637,482
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 441
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 7.9%

4. Brazil
Prisoners: 622 202
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 307
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 6%

5. India
Prisoners: 419,623
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 33
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 4.3%

6. Thailand
Prisoners: 304,090
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 450
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 13.8%

7. Mexico
Prisoners: 233,469
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 192
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 5.2%

8. Iran
Prisoners: 225,624
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 287
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 3.1%

9. Indonesia
Prisoners: 197,630
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 76
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 5.5%

10. Turkey
Prisoners: 187,609
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 238
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 3.7%

11. South Africa
Prisoners: 161,984
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 291
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 2.6%

12. Philippines
Prisoners: 142,168
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 140
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 8.9%

13. Vietnam
Prisoners: 136,245
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 146
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 12.1%

14. Colombia
Prisoners: 120,668
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 240
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 6.6%

15. Ethiopia
Prisoners: 111,050
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 128
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 3.3%

16. Egypt
Prisoners: 106,000
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 116
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 3.7%

17. United Kingdom
Prisoners: 85,897
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 147
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 4.6%

18. Pakistan
Prisoners: 80,169
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 43
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 2.1%

19. Peru
Prisoners: 79,644
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 252
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 5.8%

20. Morocco
Prisoners: 76,000
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population): 222
Female prisoners (percentage of prison population): 2.3%

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Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj
Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is a media and technology executive, macro-economist, strategic thinker, chair, and chief executive officer of the CEOWORLD magazine, one of the world’s most influential and recognized global news publications. Under Dr. Amarendra's leadership, CEOWORLD magazine has become the world's most iconic news organization, whose rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of business leaders daily. Additionally, he serves as the chair and founding member of the CEOWORLD magazine’s Inclusion Advisory Board.

In his current role, he counsels and collaborates with c-suite executives of large multinational corporations, helping them drive change in their companies to improve their competitiveness. Dr. Amarendra has extensive experience in serving on numerous boards. He leads and supports a globally dispersed team of columnists, correspondents, editors, journalists, reporters, researchers, and industry analysts.

He received his Ph.D. in Finance and Banking from the European Global School, Paris, France. He also received his Doctoral Degree in Chartered Accountancy from the European International University Paris, France, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design (KNUTD), Ukraine. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and his master’s degree in Chartered Accountancy (CA) from European Global School Paris. Dr. Amarendra also holds a Master of Business Administration degree in International Relations and Affairs from the American University of Athens, Alabama, United States.

As CEO, he transformed the CEOWORLD magazine into a highly efficient, digital-first, profitable enterprise. Today, CEOWORLD magazine is a standard bearer for modern responsible journalism. Dr. Amarendra retains a strong desire to continuously improve his skills and abilities and believes that the first step to being a true leader is to inspire others to lead with you.


Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is the CHAIR, CEO, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR of the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn.