DISINFO: Prison population in the US is larger than in the USSR under Joseph Stalin
Western values Joseph Stalin Conspiracy theory

DISINFO: Prison population in the US is larger than in the USSR under Joseph Stalin


One of the most problematic issues in the US is the high criminal rates. More people are imprisoned in the US than the number of prisoners in the USSR during Stalin times. Despite this, most criminals roam freely in the streets.


This message provides the facts out of context, thus, misrepresenting the US judicial system.

At the end of 2016, nearly 2.2 million adults were held in US prisons and jails, which is approximately 655 people for every 100,000 people residing in the US. In 2015, in Russia around 642,500 people were held behind bars, which is around 432 prisoners per 100,000 people, the highest rate in Europe.

When it comes to Stalin times in the USSR, the tentative historical consensus among archival researchers and historians who utilise such data is that around 18 million people passed through Gulag from 1930 to 1953, of them between 1.5 to 1.7 million people perished as a result of their detention.

Furthermore, official figures (unofficial estimates give higher numbers) say that in the years of the Great Purge in 1937-1938 over 680,000 people were executed in the USSR on political charges.

It is hardly correct and appropriate at all to compare the numbers of prisoners in the present-time US and the USSR under Stalin, given that during Stalinism, millions of people received their prison terms following inadequate and often ungrounded accusations rather than fair criminal proceedings.

The United States is placed high (20th) in the global rank on Criminal Justice and 19th in the global rank of Rule of Law Index prepared by authoritative World Justice Project's research team.


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