Tyler Cowen quotes Barbara Demick as writing, "North Koreans have multiple words for prison in much the same way that the Inuit do for snow." So do we, no? But in our case, they seem to come from 1930s B-movies
I wonder if there are almost as many words for prison in Russia, Turkmenistan, and the other leaders on the list. Apparently North Korea is off the charts, so perhaps they have ten times as many words for prison/jail as we do.
P.S. America includes a bunch of Inuits, so I guess we have multiple words for snow also!
according to the pdf in the link
"The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 738 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (611), St Kitts & Nevis (547), U.S. Virgin Is. (521), Turkmenistan (c.489), Belize (487), Cuba (c.487),
Palau (478), British Virgin Is. (464), Bermuda (463), Bahamas (462), Cayman Is. (453), American Samoa (446), Belarus (426) and Dominica (419)."
why the rates are so high for those Caribbean islands?
Maybe because the population of St. Kitts is so low. There are only ca. 40,000 people. So of you have 100 prisoners, that's 250 per 100,000. Rate is still a mite high, but I would bet that if you took a look at what those folks were in prison for and the length of the sentence it won't look as bad (say they jail 50 people every year for burglary, and let 'em out six months later).
Anyhow, you'd get a lot of year-to-year variance. I don't know if that is the case, though. Does it differentiate for people in prison and the equivalent of county jail?