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Prison Statistics

WriteAPrisoner.com has compiled all of its information on United States' Prison Statics in this section. Here you will find incarceration data gathered from a variety of government entities and other credible sources. Regardless of your position in respect to crime and punishment in the United States, one thing is certain: U.S. incarceration statistics are staggering. Please use the links below to easily navigate this section of our site.
Capital Punishment Statistics

Capital Punishment, 2005

  • At yearend 2005, 36 States and the Federal prison system held 3,254 prisoners under sentence of death, 66 fewer than at yearend 2004. This represents the fifth consecutive year that the population has decreased.

  • Of those under sentence of death, 56% were white, 42% were black, and 2% were of other races.

  • Fifty-two women were under sentence of death in 2005, up from 47 in 1995.

Capital Punishment, 2004

  • At yearend 2004, 36 States and the Federal prison system held 3,314 prisoners under sentence of death, 63 fewer than at yearend 2003.

  • Fifty-two women were under sentence of death in 2004, up from 43 in 1994.

Capital Punishment, 2003

  • At yearend 2003, 37 States and the Federal prison system held 3,374 prisoners under sentence of death, 188 fewer than at yearend 2002.

  • Of those under sentence of death, 56% were white 42% were black, and 2% were of other races.

  • Forty-seven women were under sentence of death in 2003, up from 38 in 1993.

Capital Punishment, 2002

  • Of the 6,912 people under sentence of death between 1977 and 2002, 12% were executed, 4% died by causes other than execution, and 33% received other dispositions.

  • Fifty-one women were under sentence of death in 2002, up from 36 in 1992.

  • After declining for two years, the number of executions increased to 71 during 2002.

Capital Punishment, 2001

  • At yearend 2001, 37 States and the Federal prison system held 3,581 prisoners under sentence of death, 20 fewer than at yearend 2000

  • Fifty-one women were under sentence of death in 2001, up from 36 in 1991

  • Of the 6,754 people under sentence of death between 1977 and 2001, 11% were executed, 4% died by causes other than execution, and 32% received other dispositions.

Capital Punishment, 2000

  • Fourteen States executed 85 prisoners during 2000.

  • At yearend the youngest death-row inmate was 18; the oldest was 85.

  • Fifty-four women were under sentence of death in 2000, up from 35 in 1990

Capital Punishment, 1999

  • At yearend 1999, 37 States and the Federal prison system held 3,527 prisoners under sentence of death, 2% more than in 1998.

  • The 325 Hispanic inmates under sentence of death accounted for 10% of inmates with a known ethnicity.

  • Fifty women were under a sentence of death in 1999, up from 35 in 1990.

  • Among persons for whom arrest information was available, the average age at time of arrest was 28; 2% of inmates were age 17 or younger. At yearend the youngest inmate was 18; the oldest was 84.

Capital Punishment, 1998

  • At yearend 1998, 37 States and the Federal prison system held 3,452 prisoners under sentence of death, 4% more than in 1997.

  • The 314 Hispanic inmates under sentence of death accounted for 10% of inmates with a known ethnicity.

  • Forty-eight women were under a sentence of death in 1998, up from 35 in 1990.

  • Among persons for whom arrest information was available, the average age at time of arrest was 28; 2% of inmates were age 17 or younger. At yearend the youngest inmate was 18; the oldest was 83.

Crime Prevention Statistics

Presale Handgun Checks, the Brady Interim Period, 1994-98

  • Provides a national estimate of handgun purchase applications, the number rejected, and the reasons for rejection during the interim period before the permanent provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act went into effect. These data were collected by the Regional Justice Information Service (REJIS) of St. Louis, Missouri and focus on the presale handgun checks from March 1, 1994 to November 29, 1998, the interim period. During this time, an estimated 12,740,000 applications for handgun purchases resulted in 312,000 rejections through background checks.

  • From January thru November 1998, about 2,384,000 background checks of the potential handgun buyers prevented an estimated 70,000 purchases.

  • For all of 1998 including December 1998, the first month of the permanent provisions of the Brady Act, the number of handgun application rejections totaled an estimated 78,000. 6/99 NCJ 175034

Presale Handgun Checks, 1997

  • Provides a national estimate of handgun purchase applications, the number rejected, and the reasons for rejection. The project, conducted by the Regional Justice Information Service (REJIS) of St. Louis, Missouri, is an ongoing data collection effort focusing on the presale handgun checks in each State beginning January 1, 1996.

  • From March 1, 1994 to yearend 1997, an estimated 10,356,000 applications for handgun purchases resulted in 242,000 rejections through background checks.

  • During 1997 about 2,574,000 background checks of the potential handgun buyers prevented an estimated 69,000 purchases.

  • The previous report, for 1996, was released in September 1997. NCJ 171130

Presale Handgun Checks, 1996: A National Estimate

  • Provides a national estimate of firearms purchasing applications, the number rejected, and the reasons for rejection. The project, conducted by the Regional Justice Information Service (REJIS) of St. Louis, Missouri, is an ongoing data collection effort focusing on the firearms check procedures in each State beginning January 1, 1996. The responses from 44 States summarized in this Bulletin are being used to develop statistics describing implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. 9/97. NCJ 165704

Background checks for firearm transfers

  • Federal law prohibits firearm possession by or transfer to prohibited persons including those who are under indictment for or convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year.

  • In 2008 over 9.9 million applications for firearm transfers or permits were subject to background checks under the Brady Act and similar state laws.

  • From the inception of the Brady Act in March 1994 through December 2008, more than 97 million applications for firearm transfers were subject to background checks. About 1,778,000 applications were rejected.

  • Among state checking agencies in 2008, 46% of all rejections for firearm transfers were due to a felony conviction.

  • Among all agencies conducting background checks, 48% of applications were denied due to reasons other than a felony conviction in 2008.

Prison Education and Employment

Post Release Employment Project

  • The Post-Release Employment Project is a long-term study designed to evaluate the impact of FPI prison industrial work experience (alone and in conjunction with vocational and apprenticeship training) on former Federal inmates post-release adjustment.

  • After 1 year participants were
    Significantly less likely to recidivate (i.e. be rearrested or have post-confinement or community supervision revoked).
    More likely to be employed during
    Earned slightly higher wages (on average)
  • After 8 to 12 years post-confinement inmates were:
    24% less likely to recidivate
    14% more likely to be employed
    Minority groups were benefitted more than their non-minority counterparts
  • Inmates who participated in either vocational or apprenticeship training were 33% less likely to recidivate than those who did not participate.

Correctional Education

  • One study indicates that those who benefitted from correctional education recidivated 29% less often than those who did not have educational opportunities while in the correctional institution (Steurer, Smith and Tracy, 2001).

  • NALS (National Adult Literacy Survey) shows that literacy levels among inmates are:
    70% of inmates scored at the lowest 2 levels (of 5) of literacy which is below 4th grade level.
    75% of inmates are illiterate (at the 12th grade level)
    19% of inmates are completely illiterate
    40% are functionally illiterate (unable to write a letter explaining a billing error)
    National literacy rates for adult Americans are:
    4% overall
    21% for functional illiteracy
  • Learning Disabilities:
    Estimated 75-90% for juvenile offenders
    Nationally over 70% of all people entering state correctional facilities have not completed high school
    46% have had some high school education
    16.4% have had no high school education at all

Prison Literacy Programs

  • The federal government encourages literacy skill improvement in all entities, including prisons, that receive federal aid and at least 26 states have enacted mandatory educational requirements for certain populations. These policies demonstrate the importance placed on efforts to improve literacy skills.

  • Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. The fourth grade is the watershed year.

  • 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

  • More than 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

  • Penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no help.

  • Illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.

Quick Facts

Sources:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov
New York Times article by Anthony Lewis, 12/21/99
Going Up The River: Travels in a Prison Nation; Joseph T. Hallinan; Random House, 2001

From a New York Times article by Anthony Lewis, 12/21/99

  • One-fourth of the world's 8 million prisoners are incarcerated in U.S. prisons. That's 2 million prisoners in the United States!

  • Two-thirds of the prisoners are there for non-violent offenses. ("Chances are good that by the time they are released after sentences that are among the longest anywhere they will be thoroughly brutalized," wrote Lewis.)

  • Operating costs for U.S. prisons in the year 2000 - approximately $40 billion!

  • One-fourth of U.S. prisoners are drug violators with non-violent crimes who will NOT receive effective treatment in our prisons.

Going Up The River: Travels in a Prison Nation; Joseph T. Hallinan; Random House, 2001

  • No nation in the world incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than the U.S. In the last 20 years, our prison population has more than quadrupled.

  • The U.S. government predicts one in every eleven men will be imprisoned during his lifetime - one in every four for black men.

  • The prison industry generates more than $30 billion a year.

  • In 1997, on phone call profits alone, the state of New York earned $21.2 million, California made $17.6 million, and Florida made $13.8 million. (Prisoners must call their families collect. The rates are the highest in the nation, passed on to the poor families who are unlikely to refuse a collect call from an incarcerated family member. These legal kickbacks from AT&T, MCI Worldcom, etc. to the prisons are just one small sampling of the big profits being made off of U.S. prisoners. Prisons are big business in this country.)

US Prison Statistics By Region

Alabama Department of Corrections

  • As of May 30, 2009 there were a total of 30,896 inmates assigned to ADOC. 28,560 are male, 2,336 are female.

  • The Alabama Dept. of Corrections operates 29 facilities within the state. Five are considered maximum security: Holman, Kilby, St. Clair, Donaldson and Tutwiler.

  • Eleven are considered medium security, with a total of eleven Work Release / Community Work Centers

  • During Fiscal Year 2008, there were 2,649 offenders participated in 34 Community Corrections programs operating in 45 counties statewide.

  • During Fiscal Year 2008, the annual cost to house an ADOC inmate was $15,223 or $41.71 per day. According to the American Correctional Association this is one of the lowest cost-per-day rates in the country.

  • As of 8/21/2009, there are 198 males and 5 females on death row in Alabama.

  • Lethal injection is the primary method of execution in Alabama. In 2002, the passage of Senate bill 240 provides for execution of the death sentence by lethal • injection unless the condemned person elects the method of electrocution as described by Code of Alabama 15-18-82.1

  • All Alabama prisons have a heating system, but only the prison hospital and mental health units have air conditioning.

Alaska Department of Corrections

  • Alaska has a total of 12 institutions.

  • Total 3,122 beds; 3,232 emergency capacity

  • 15 contract jails with 153 beds

  • 7 Community Residential Centers with 614 beds

  • 7 Contract treatment centers with 26 beds

  • Out-of-state placements: 17 (14 in federal prisons for protective custody, 2 in Washington for Dialysis treatment.

Arizona Juvenile Facts

  • ADJD operates 4 secure juvenile facilities (Safe Schools), 3 for males, 1 for females

  • 325 students tested for the GED during the ’07-’08 school year

  • 283 students completed all five GED testing areas during the ’07-’08 school year

California Department of Corrections

  • Inmate Pop. 95,000 to 100,000

  • 41,000 read at HS level.

  • 1990 1,463 earned GED.

  • 14,000 in prison educational track.

  • 3,254 college courses are completed each year.

  • 10,400 offenders return to state prison each year.

  • 62% are paid (.25-$4 hr) 10-13,000 waiting for paid positions.

  • No waiting on academic classes.

  • Each of state's 20 prisons have GED and ESL programs.

Colorado Department of Corrections

  • Colorado currently has 2 inmates on death row.

  • Academic student enrollments: 5,417

  • Career and Technical Education (vocational) enrollment: 8,866

  • Career and Technical Education certificates awarded: 2,419

  • 226 Apprenticeship Enrollments (as of August 1, 2007)

  • 187 CYOPP Enrollments (for Fall 2007 semester)

  • Offenders currently in DOC population who do not have a high school diploma or GED: 9,823 (as of November 30, 2007)

  • Offenders who utilize DOC Education Programs (includes Academic, CTE, Correctional Libraries, and Apprenticeship Programs) on any given day: approximately 6,500

  • GED instruction and testing is available in all CDOC facilities.

  • Last year, 6,414 individual GED tests were successfully completed in CDOC facilities.

Connecticut Department of Corrections

  • Recidivism

    The most recent study of recidivism within the Connecticut Department of Correction was completed in February of 2009 by the State Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division. The study followed 16,486 sentenced offenders for a three year period after they were released or discharged from a prison facility in 2004.

  • Recidivism

    The results substantially support the agency's Reentry Model in that they demonstrate the effectiveness of a period of supervision in the community prior to the end of sentence as a means of supporting successful reintegration.

  • Recidivism

    Based on a similar analysis that tracked offenders released or discharged by the DOC in 1997, it appears that there has been a modest decline in recidivism rate in Connecticut in recent years. Among the 1997 release cohort, 38.2 percent returned to prison for a new offense within three years. For the 2004 release cohort, the return rate was 36.7 percent. Although the recidivism rate declined between 1997 and 2004, the total number of offenders who were released or discharged from prison increased 265 percent during the same period.

  • Recidivism

    While the 1997 cohort showed a rate of return to prison for offenders discharged under Transitional Supervision of 35 percent, the 2004 cohort rate was 27.4 percent. For offenders placed on parole prior to the end of their sentence, the rate decreased from 31 percent with the 1997 cohort to 23.4 percent with the 2004 group of offenders.

Delaware Department of Corrections

  • Delaware has 4 facilities for adults, 1 facility for women and 1 facility for juveniles.

  • Delaware currently has 20 inmates on death row.

  • 24,903 inmates are currently in the Delaware Department of Corrections facility listing

  • Religious Services

    Approximately 2000 inmates or 30% of the population participate in religious services or programs. Worship services for Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim offenders are provided on a regular basis. Religious services for inmates of other faiths are provided as needed.

  • Religious Services

    Approximately 795 individuals volunteer their time, talent and energies to provide a wide range of religious programs to Delaware's incarcerated population.

  • 97% of all Delaware inmates will eventually be released from incarceration

Florida Department of Corrections

  • As of 2000

    123,093 men and 13,290 women between the ages of 18 and 65 were in jail or prison.

  • As of 2000

    70,734 people were in state prisons.

  • As of 2000

    48,469 were in local jails.

  • As of 2000

    12,380 were incarcerated in federal prisons.

  • As of 2000

    4,076 were in military lockups.

  • As of 2000

    1,102 people were in halfway houses.

  • As of 2000

    5,017 teenage boys and 1,303 girls were housed in juvenile facilities.

  • As of 2000

    1,368 juvenile boys and 87 girls under 18 were incarcerated in adult lockups.

  • As of 2000

    2,387 were behind bars in other types of correctional facilities

  • Juvenile and Adult Recidivism

    Under 18: 51.3%

  • 18-24: 40%

  • Juvenile and Adult Recidivism

    25-34: 36%

  • Juvenile and Adult Recidivism

    35-49: 30%

  • Juvenile and Adult Recidivism

    50-59: 15%

  • Juvenile and Adult Recidivism

    Over 60: 8.7%

  • Juvenile and Adult Recidivism

    Total: 33.8%

Georgia Department of Corrections

  • Percentage of Georgia's population that is African American: 27

  • Percentage of Georgia's prison population that is African American: 68

  • Percentage of district attorneys in Georgia's 46 judicial circuits who are African-American: 2

  • Percentage of judges in Georgia's Superior Courts who are African-American: 10

  • Percentage of homicides in Georgia in which the victim is African American: 65

  • Percentage of cases in which executions have been carried out in which the victim was white: 90

Hawaii Department of Public Safety

  • Hawaii is one of only six states in the country that has its jail functions at the State level. Traditionally, jails are the responsibility of county government. The Hawaii Department of Public Safety is responsible for four jails: one on each of the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai.

  • The Hawaii State Department of Public Safety oversees four prisons. Three of the prisons are located on the island of Oahu and one on the island of Hawaii.

  • Hawaii estimates that of the approximately 6,000 prisoners all but 300 will eventually be released.

Idaho Department of Corrections

  • Incarcerated Demographics July 2009

    Gender Institutions CWC's Contract Beds County Jails Total % of Total

  • Incarcerated Demographics July 2009

    Female 574 100 0 98 772 10.6%

  • Incarcerated Demographics July 2009

    Male 5,764 343 0 416 6,523 89.4%

  • Incarcerated Demographics July 2009

    Total 6,338 443 0 514 7,295 100.0%

  • The safe operating capacity of the Department's eight prisons and four community work centers, along with the state-owned, privately-managed Idaho Correctional Center, is 5,939 beds.

  • Offenders Sentenced to Death 17 (16 males, 1 female)

  • The number of juveniles (under age 18) varies, but typically makes up a very small percentage of the overall offender population. In January 2008, there were two minors under the supervision of Community Corrections (probation and parole) and six incarcerated minors.

  • The average cost per day to house an inmate in Idaho prisons was $55.84 for fiscal year 2007. The average inmate cost per day at the community work centers is $37.85 for fiscal year 2007. CWC inmates pay 30% of their wages to help defray those costs. Their wages reduced the CWC cost per pay by $10.49 in FY07. The average offender cost per day for someone on probation or parole is $3.92.

  • The Education Bureau of the Idaho Department of Correction operates prison education programs in seven facilities across the state. Through the Division of Programs, the Education Bureau serves approximately 45% of Idaho's inmate population by delivering literacy, secondary, life skills, and vocational programs. The Robert Janss School is accredited through the Idaho Department of Education.

  • In response to the growing female offender population, Idaho has developed a Female Offender Coalition, which is guided by the department's Director of Women's Programs. The Female Offender Coalition is a team of professionals committed to working with female offenders and guiding our department in the development of gender-specific programming.

Illinois Department of Corrections

  • C-Numbers refers to those inmates who were convicted to indeterminate sentences prior to implementation of determinate sentencing in 1978. C-numbered inmates periodically appear before members of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to plead their case for parole. Other inmates serve a specific amount of time and are released after serving a percentage of their sentence.

  • Inmates are not permitted access to the Internet, nor can they have personal computers in their cells. Inmates may use computers if their educational program merits it.

  • Inmates may receive mail at any time during their incarceration. Write an inmate as you would anyone else, but remember to put his inmate number in the proximity of his name on the envelope. Your letter to the inmate will be opened and searched for contraband. If contraband is found, we will ask the state's attorney of your county to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. We are not interested in what you write the inmate unless it contains plans for his escape or other illegal activity. Please do not decorate the envelope with stickers. We strictly enforce the prohibition of stickers since they may be used to introduce contraband materials. Any document received at a prison that has stickers attached will be returned.

  • The Illinois Department of Corrections operates two adult boot camps. Adult inmates must volunteer before the judge and the placement recommendation by the judge is reviewed when the inmate is received at Corrections. Corrections administrators determine who goes to the juvenile camp. Adults may not have been convicted of a serious crime, must be between the ages of 18-35 and not have been sentenced to Corrections more than twice. They cannot have a sentence of more than 8 years. Corrections retains the right to determine who goes to boot camp based on the nature of the crime and whether the inmate can take the regimentation both physically and mentally.

  • Corrections operates 8 work release centers called adult transitional centers. One of the centers can house female inmates. These centers are designed to house approximately 1,280 inmates who must work or go to school and return to the center when not occupied in an approved activity in the community. Inmates who are within two years of release and classified as minimum security may apply for placement at an ATC through their counselor. However, there are approximately 45,000 adults incarcerated so Corrections is very selective about who is transferred to ATCs.

Indiana Department of Corrections

  • Currently it costs an average of $54.28 per day to keep an adult inmate incarcerated in the State of Indiana.

  • The Department's general fund budget for 2003-2004 is $568.9 million

  • The Department's general fund budget for 2004-2005 is $571.0 million

  • There are currently 18 offenders under the sentence of death in the State of Indiana. This includes 17 males housed at the Indiana State Prison (Michigan City, IN) and one female currently serving a life sentence at the Ohio Reformatory for Women (Marysville, OH).

  • The State Constitution states the penal code shall be founded on the principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice. The Department is required to provide medical and dental services to inmates as well as access to law libraries and educational programs. However, if an inmate wants to pursue post secondary education, the cost is the inmate's responsibility. Idle prisoners would require more supervision and could be a threat to the security of the facility. Therefore, it is important to not only provide programming and employment to the inmates, but allow them recreational time as well. It should be noted that most of the inmates currently incarcerated will be returning to society, and hopefully will be prepared when they do so.

  • Indiana's recidivism rate has continually declined for the past 3 consecutive years. IDOC defines recidivism as a return to incarceration within three years of the offender's date of release from a state correctional institution.

  • Offenders are not permitted access to the internet, nor can they have personal computers in their cells. Offenders may use computers if their educational program merits it in a supervised lab.

  • 2008 recidivism rates indicate a decrease for the third consecutive year. Of those offenders released in 2005, 37.4% were recommitted to the IDOC within three years of their release date.

  • Male offenders had a higher recidivism rate when compared to female offenders. Of male offenders released in 2005, 38.4% returned to the IDOC, versus 31.1% of female releases.

  • The recidivism rate for African American offenders increased from the prior year to 46.6%, while recidivism rates for Caucasian offenders decreased to 33.9%.

  • The younger the offender is at the time he/she is released, the more likely they are to return to the IDOC. Also, offenders serving less than 2 years with IDOC represent over 80% of all recidivists.

  • Of all offenders who recidivated, nearly 58% returned to IDOC for the commission of a new crime, compared to approximately 42% of returns for a technical rule violation of post-release supervision.

  • Juvenile Offenders in the Indiana Department of Corrections

    2008 Juvenile Recidivism Rate: 35.9%

  • Juvenile Offenders in the Indiana Department of Corrections

    493 Releases ¦ 536 Returns (273 as a juvenile, 263 as an adult)

  • Juvenile Offenders in the Indiana Department of Corrections

    79.2% of juvenile releases had not been incarcerated in an Adult facility within 3 years of their 2005 release from a Juvenile institution

  • Juvenile Offenders in the Indiana Department of Corrections

    Of all juveniles released in 2005, 39.6% of males returned to IDOC, while only 21.3% of females returned.

  • Juvenile Offenders in the Indiana Department of Corrections

    Approximately 38% of African American juvenile offenders returned to the Department of Correction, a higher rate than any other race or ethnicity.

  • Juvenile Offenders in the Indiana Department of Corrections

    Nearly 71% of juveniles who recidivated were returned to IDOC for the commission of a new crime, compared to 29% of returns which were for a technical violation of post-release supervision.