South Dakota Imprisons More Per Capita than Any Other State
When it comes to locking people up, South Dakota is in a league all by itself.
A story in The Appeal says the Mount Rushmore State imprisons the most people per capita in the United States - well above the national average. The state has 855 prisoners per 100,00 people, compared to 698 across America.
According to new numbers from the Prison Policy Initiative, South Dakota jailed roughly 25,000 people in 2016, nearly three percent of the state’s population.
Drug and alcohol offenses, along with nonviolent crimes, put the most people behind bars in South Dakota where nearly half of all arrests drug or alcohol-related, compared to just 29 percent nationally. 85 percent of all arrests in the state are for nonviolent offenses, slightly above the national average.
The statistics also reveal a racial component to South Dakota's incarceration numbers.
Although Native Americans make up less than nine percent of South Dakota’s population, they are roughly half of those booked into jails in the state.