If someone asks you what America does better than the rest of the world, a few things may come quickly to mind: high tech, entertainment, energy and fast food, for example. But there's another answer that's less cheery: The U.S. leads the world in imprisoning people.
For petty crime, drug offenses or violence, no other nation in the world puts more people per capita behind bars than we do. When you add up federal, state and local prisons, immigration detention centers, juvenile facilities, military prisons, and Native American-run facilities, the U.S. has 2.4 million people locked up, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. For perspective, that's 1.5 times as many people per capita as the Russian Federation imprisons. States take the biggest haul, with 1.4 million prisoners, followed by local jails and, bringing up the rear, the federal government.