Monday, May 2, 2005

US land of the free: 2,131,180 prisoners

US: WASHINGTON -- The nation's prisons and jails held 2,131,180 inmates as of June 30, 2004, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced this week. Two-thirds were in federal and state prisons, and the other third were in local jails. Jail authorities were supervising an additional 70,548 men and women in the community in work release, weekend reporting, electronic monitoring and other alternative programs.

The incarcerated population grew by 48,452 inmates between midyear 2003 and midyear 2004. Jail inmates grew by 3.3 percent, state prisoners by 1.3 percent, and federal prisoners by 6.3 percent. On June 30, 2004, there were an estimated 726 persons per 100,000 U.S. residents in prison or jail.

In the year ending June 30, 2004, 13 states reported an increase of at least 5 percent, led by Minnesota (13.2 percent), Montana (10.5 percent), and Arkansas (8.9 percent). Twelv e states reported decreases in the number of prisoners, including Alabama (6.7 percent), Connecticut (2.5 percent) and Ohio (2.3 percent).

Between June 30, 2003 and June 30, 2004, the number of female prisoners increased 2.9 percent to reach 103,310. At the same time, male prisoners increased 2 percent to reach 1,390,906. Overall, including inmates in prison and jail, men were 11 times more likely to be incarcerated than women (1,348 male inmates per 100,000 U.S. male residents compared t o 123 female inmates per 100,000 female residents).

State prisons held 2,477 youths under 18 years old in 2004, less than half of the peak number in 1995 (5,309 youths). Local jails held an estimated 7,083 youths, down from 7,800 in 1995.

On June 30, 2004, the 50 largest jail jurisdictions held nearly one-third of all jail inmates. Eight jurisdictions experienced double-digit growth in the year ending midyear 2004, led by Clark County, Nevada; Fulton County, Georgia; and Orange County, California -- all up 20 percent.

An estimated 12.6 percent of all black males in their late twenties were in prisons or jails, compared to 3.6 percent of Hispanic males and 1.7 percent of white males.

The number of noncitizens held in state or federal prisons increased 1.4 percent in the year ending June 30, 2004, reaching 91,789. Almost two-thirds of incarcerated noncitizens were held by the federal system.

Privately operated prison facilities held 98,791 men and women, up 3.4 percent in the six months since December 31, 2003. The federal prison system used privately operated facilities to house 13.7 percent of inmates; 5.6 percent of state prisoners were housed in private facilities.

According to the most recent data available, at year-end 2003 prison systems were estimated to be at capacity to 16 percent above capacity. At midyear 2004, jails were operating at 94 percent of capacity.

The report, "Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2004" (NCJ-208801), was written by BJS statisticians Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck. Following publication.

Additional information about BJS statistical reports and programs is available from the BJS website. OJP provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education, and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed program and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information.

By Critical Resistance 2 May 05

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