The bar graph gives information on incarceration figures in Great Britain and four of its current or former colonial nation states, namely Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada, at the beginning of each decade from 1930 to 1980.
From the graph, it is obvious that the two North American nations had the highest absolute number of prisoners in each decade shown, with the United States ending up with by far the highest figure of all five countries by the end of the period.
In 1930, Canada had the highest number of inmates (120,000) ahead of the next highest (100,000) had by both USA and New Zealand. Australian prisoner numbers were at almost half that of Canada’s (70,000), and Great Britain’s at only a quarter.
During the 50-year period that followed, most country’s prisoner numbers fluctuated wildly, except those of Great Britain, which saw a significant increase in each decade beyond 1940 to reach close to the median figure. Australian numbers fell back close to its 1940 and 1950 level to become clearly the lowest by 1980.