It’s not China, or Russia, or Cuba.
Why does the US incarcerate people at the rate it does?
The War on Drugs and the industries which have grown up on the flanks of the drug war battlefields are the main reasons. Millions of people are now employed in our system of incarceration. From police, to prisons, to prison guard unions, to drug testing laboratories, many people have a vested interest in putting people behind bars.
I don’t think there is some evil plot behind the current state of affairs. It’s just bureaucracy which is out of control. With each year the war expanded. More money was given to the beast. More people hired. More constituencies created and expanded. And before we knew it the USA, the land of the free and home of the brave, was incarcerating more of its people on a per capital basis than any other country.