1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

So, Who's NOT in Jail?

U.S. Prisons taking in 700 new inmates weekly


The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that 1 out of every 143 Americans is now in jail, with another 700 new inmates joining them weekly.

According to the BJS report "Prisoners in 2002," U.S. prisons, jails and juvenile facilities held 2,166,260 persons at the end of last year. The incarcerated population was held in federal, state, and local facilities as follows:

  • State prisons 1,209,640 Federal prisons 151,618

  • Local jails (as of June 30, 2002) 665,475


  • Juvenile facilities, public and private (as of October 2000) 110,284

  • U.S. territorial prisons 16,206

  • Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (BICE)* 8,748

  • Military facilities 2,377

  • Indian country jails (as of June 30, 2001) 1,912

    *BICE is the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service

    The 2.6 percent growth in state and federal prison population during 2002 was more than double the 2001 growth, but less than the average annual growth of 3.6 percent since year-end 1995.

    The 2002 prisoner increase was equal to an additional 700 more inmates every week during the year. At the end of last year there were 476 inmates serving sentences of at least one year in federal or state prisons per 100,000 U.S. residents -- up from 411 inmates in 1995. About 1 in every 143 U.S. residents were in state or federal prison or a local jail, as of last December 31.

    A total of 97,491 women, about 6.8 percent of all prison inmates, were doing time in federal or state prisons at the end of 2002. The number of female prisoners has grown by 42 percent since 1995, while the number of male prisoners has increased 27 percent.

    As of December 31, 2002, black males from 20 to 39 years old accounted for about a third of all sentenced prison inmates under state or federal jurisdiction. On that date 10.4 percent of the country's black male population between the ages of 25 to 29 were in prison, compared to 2.4 percent of Hispanic males and 1.2 percent of white males in the same age group.

    On December 31, 2001, 49 percent of all state prisoners were serving time for violent crime. Between 1995 and 2001, the increase in violent offenders accounted for 64 percent of male state prisoner growth and 49 percent of female prisoner growth.

    Growth in the federal system from 1995 to 2001 (up 61 percent) is attributed largely to the increase in drug offenders (accounting for 48 percent of the total growth) and immigration offenders (21 percent of the increase).

    The entire report -- "Prisoners in 2002" -- can be accessed online at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/p02.htm

    For more Bureau of Justice Statistics reports, visit the BJS Website at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs

  • ©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.