How bad are US prisons compared to prisons in the UK?

I was arrested in Spain back in 2012 and spent 11 months in prison in Madrid before being extradited to the U.S. where I spent almost a further 5 years.

The prison in Madrid was 100 times more humane than every jail and prison I was housed in in the U.S.

I don’t have any direct experience of serving time in a British prison but had several friends who successfully transferred back to the U.K to serve the remainder of their sentences. Their feedback was that they were extremely happy to be back home albeit in prison, and that conditions were much more humane.

The American prison system is brutal to say the least. Suicide in County Jails is extremely high compared to the rest of the population and one reason is that mental health institutions are closing down by the bucket load, meaning that the only alternative is to send these people to County Jails when they step out of line.

The American prison system is big business and the statistics regarding the countries percentage population on a global scale compared to their prison population on the same scale is staggering. While the U.S. Accounts for less than 5% of the world’s population it actually accounts for around 22% of the world’s prison population.

Whole towns have been built around prisons. It costs the tax payer around $30,000 USD per annum to house a federal inmate and not far off that for State inmates. Big business indeed. On a federal scale, the government certainly wants to squeeze every last dollar out of the tax payer as the early release policy only extends to around 12% reduction of the sentence for good behaviour. The British system has an automatic release policy after 50% of a sentence is served. What this means to the U.S prisoner compared to the British prisoner is that a six year sentence translates in real terms to 5 years and 3 months compared to 3 years respectively.

Ultimately, I don’t recommend prison to anyone anywhere in the world, but if you are set on going make sure your crimes have no connection to the U.S!


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