Sam Cooke – Chain gang

I heard this song as a child and I remember visualising in my head men who had done bad things, being the subjects of this song.

It is not so black and white now as I see many prisoners are:

In prison because of their race

In prison because of their religion

In prison because of their beliefs

Prisoners of conscience e.g Sherry Peel Jackson-

Below is a link that shows penal  statistics world wide.

Some Key points
More than 8.75 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, mostly as
pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or having been convicted and sentenced. About half of
these are in the United States (1.96m), Russia (0.92m) or China (1.43m plus pre-trial
detainees and prisoners in ‘administrative detention’).
The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 686 per 100,000
of the national population, followed by the Cayman Islands (664), Russia (638), Belarus (554),
Kazakhstan (522), Turkmenistan (489), Belize (459), Bahamas (447), Suriname (437) and
Dominica (420).
● However, more than three-fifths of countries (62.5%) have rates below 150 per 100,000. (The
United Kingdom’s rate of 139 per 100,000 of the national population places it above the midpoint
in the World List; it is now the highest among countries of the European Union.)
● Prison population rates vary considerably between different regions of the world, and between
different parts of the same continent. For example:
● in Africa the median rate for western and central African countries is 50 whereas for
southern African countries it is 362;
● in the Americas the median rate for south American countries is 107 whereas for
Caribbean countries it is 297;
● in Asia the median rate for south central Asian countries (mainly the Indian sub-continent)
is 54 whereas for (ex-Soviet) central Asian countries it is 426;
● in Europe the median rate for southern European countries is 69 whereas for central and
eastern European countries it is 213;
● in Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) the median rate is 110.
● Prison populations are growing in many parts of the world. Updated information on countries
included in the previous editions of the World Prison Population List shows that prison
populations have risen in 68% of these countries (in 61% of countries in Africa, 68% in the
Americas, 87% in Asia, 65% in Europe and 50% in Oceania).

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