On the World Stage
The United States imprisons a greater proportion of its citizens than any country in the world. US incarceration rates are about 7 times those of Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. American incarceration rates are greater than those in Korea, China, South Africa, Russia, and other states of the Former Soviet Union.
US prisons hold one fourth of all the prisoners in the world. In contrast, the US holds only 5% of the world’s people.
The CIA practices extraordinary rendition, a global internment program for suspected terrorists that operates in black sites around the world. Since 2001, an estimated 3,000 people have been incarcerated in these sites.
In 2002, the US established a detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – an area outside official US jurisdiction where suspected terrorists can be held without trial. 775 people have been detained at some point in GITMO. Most have been released without charge or returned to their own countries. Detainees have included minors, some as young as 13 at the time of their detention. In 2011, President Obama cleared a path to military trials for detainees. Despite declining detainee numbers, GITMO remains a source of national and international concern. Cuba continues to protest its presence.
Learn more about the UCC's work on the issue of torture.