The obvious answer is that ‘typical male behaviour’ lands more men in jail than women. If this were true, however, then the proportion of men in jail would be evenly spread across all nations and the prison population would be representative of the male population at large.

In reality, the proportion of a nation’s population in jail varies hugely from country to country with some analysis showing that country’s with the greatest income inequality have the highest proportion of their population in prison. The rate of imprisonment per capita in the US is 14 times higher than in Japan, for example, and the UK is also at the high end of spectrum.

Analysis of the UK prison population also shows that men who are failed by their families and national support systems as children make up the overwhelming majority of the prison population. For example:

  • 90% of men in prison have at least on mental disorer
  • 90% of young male offenders were excluded from school
  • 60% of male prisoners come from fatherless homes
  • Half of prisoners are alcohol dependent
  • 20%-30% of male prisoners have learning difficulties
  • 27% of male prisoners spent time in a care home
  • Men from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are 3x as likely to end up in prison

Research also shows that the simple act of giving prisoners an education can reform their behaviour with one UK study showing that prisoners who engaged in learning with less than half as likely to reoffend on leaving prison.

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