This means that 6.7 million adult men and women -- about 3.1 percent of the total U.S. adult population -- are now very non-voluntary members of America's "correctional community."
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics' report Probation and Parole in the United States, 2002, the number of adult persons on probation grew by 63,434 during 2002. Probation is a court-determined period of non-prison supervision served following a conviction. The number of adults on parole increased by 20,808, or 2.8 percent, almost double the 1.5 percent average annual growth since 1995. Parole is a period of supervised release following a prison term. By the end of 2002, an all-time record of 4,748,306 adult men and women were either on parole or probation.
Thirty-five states experienced an increase in their probation population during 2002. Ohio had the largest increase (16,024 additional probationers), followed by Washington State (7,487) and California (7,353). Thirteen states reported a probation population decrease, led by Idaho (down 12 percent) and Nebraska (down 8 percent).
About 75 percent of probationers were under active supervision and were required to regularly report to a probation authority in person, by mail or by telephone. Half of all probationers had been convicted of a felony, 49 percent of a misdemeanor and 1 percent of other infractions. Twenty-four percent had been convicted of a drug law violation and 17 percent for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol.
Of the more than 2 million probationers discharged from supervision, 62 percent successfully completed the terms of their supervision, 14 percent were reincarcerated because of a rule violation or a new offense, 13 percent had their probation sentence revoked without incarceration and 3 percent had absconded.
As of last December 31, about 1 in 5 probationers were women. More than half were white, 1 in 3 were black, 1 in 8 were Hispanic and 2 percent were of other races.
At the end of last year four states had an increase of 20 percent or more in their parole population, led by North Dakota (27 percent), New Mexico (26 percent), Kentucky (23 percent) and Oklahoma (21 percent). Among those states with 100 or more parolees, 17 reported a decrease in their parole population, led by South Carolina (down 14 percent) and Florida (13 percent).
Nearly 448,000 parolees were discharged from supervision during 2002. Forty-five percent had successfully met the conditions of their supervision and 41 percent had been returned to incarceration for violating a rule or committing a new offense. About 9 percent had absconded and 2 percent had failed to meet their parole conditions but were discharged without incarceration.
Among parolees at the end of last year, more than 1 in 7 were women, 42 percent were black, 39 percent white, 18 percent Hispanic and 1 percent were of other races.