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Page Title: Government and Public Affairs

Offender Population

6.7 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year-end 2002

•  3.1 percent of all U.S. adult residents or one in every 32 adults

State and federal prison authorities had under their jurisdiction 1,440,655 inmates at year-end 2002

•  1,277,127 under state jurisdiction

•  163,528 under federal jurisdiction

Local jails held or supervised 737,912 people awaiting trial or serving a sentence at midyear 2002.

•  About 72,400 of these people were serving their sentence in the community

Correctional Populations

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics Correctional Surveys (The Annual Probation Survey, National Prisoner Statistics, Survey of Jails, and The Annual Parole Survey) as presented in Correctional Populations in the United States, Annual, Prisoners in 2001 and Probation and Parole in the United States, 2001 .

Incarcerated Population

2,033,331 inmates were held in federal or state prisons or in local jails on Dec. 31, 2002:

•  Approximately 0.7 percent of the U.S. population; and

•  Inmates in the custody of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government accounted for two-thirds of the incarcerated population; the other one-third were held in local jails.

Prison Population

Average daily population in prison reached nearly 1.3 million in 2002

•  Up 30 percent from five years earlier

There was an estimated 476 prison inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents on Dec. 31, 2002:

•  Up from 411 at year-end 1995

The number of inmates held in federal, state and private correctional facilities rose 28 percent between midyear 1995 and 2000, an average annual growth rate of 5 percent.

Jail Population

At midyear 2002, 665,475 inmates were held in the nation's local jails:

•  An increase from 631,240 at midyear 2001; and

•  From 1990 to 2002, the number of jail inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents rose from 163 to 231.

From midyear 2001 to midyear 2002, the 12-month increase of 5.4 percent in the jail population was larger than the average annual increase of 4.3 percent since 1995.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average daily population of the nation's jails was about 500,000 in 1995.

•  Admissions to jails for 1995 were between 10 and 13 million individuals

The offender population in jails turns over 20 to 25 times each year.

At midyear 2002 local jail authorities held or supervised 737,912 offenders.

•  Ten percent of these offenders (72,437) were supervised outside jail facilities in programs such as community service, work release, weekend reporting, electronic monitoring and other alternative programs

Returning to Society

At least 95 percent of those currently incarcerated will be released from custody.

Inmate Demographics

  • 1,343,164 men were under the jurisdiction of state or federal prison authorities on Dec. 31, 2002, an increase of 2.4 percent from Dec. 31, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2002.
  • 97,491 women were under the jurisdiction of state or federal prison authorities on Dec. 31, 2002, an increase of 4.9 percent from Dec. 31, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2002.
  • Black and Hispanic inmates together make up 62 percent of the prison population
    • Approximately 46 percent of all prison inmates (excluding those whose race was not reported) were black; 36 percent, white; 16 percent, Hispanic; 1 percent, American Indian or Alaska Native; and 1 percent, Asian or Pacific Islander
  • 46 percent of inmates were incarcerated for a violent offence

Alcohol/Drug Use, Mental Health & Homelessness


•  51 percent of inmates were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their current offense

Mental Health

•  16 percent of state prison inmates, 7 percent of federal inmates, and 16 percent of those in local jails reported either a mental condition or an overnight stay in a mental hospital

•  About 16 percent, or an estimated 547,800 probationers, said they had had a mental condition or stayed overnight in a mental hospital at some point in their lifetime


•  9 percent of inmates were homeless in the 12 months prior to their arrest

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