Prison Populations

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State and federal prison populations1 and imprisonment rates2 have declined for two straight years, after increasing or remaining stable from 2000 to 2009. From 2010 to 2011, 26 states saw incarcerated populations increase, while 22 states experienced decreases and two remained about the same.3

  • Between 2010 and 2011, the number of sentenced prisoners under the jurisdiction of state or federal correctional authorities declined by 1 percent, or by 15,254 prisoners. A decline of 1.6 percent, or 21,663 prisoners, under state jurisdiction was offset by an increase of 3.4 percent, or 6,409 prisoners, under federal jurisdiction.
  • At the end of 2011, 492 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents were incarcerated. That number was down 1.7 percent from 2010, while admissions of prisoners sentenced to more than one year in state or federal prison dropped by 5 percent over the same period.
  • Nationally, the 2011 rate for sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S.residents is up 4.7 percent over 2000. Before falling in 2010 and 2011, the national imprisonment rate grew an average of 0.6 percent annually between 2000 and 2009.
  • California experienced the largest year-over-year percentage drop in its prison population per 100,000 residents in the nation—10 percent or 15,188 prisoners—while Kentucky’s imprisonment rate grew the fastest of any state—4.6 percent.
  • The states with the lowest imprisonment rates include Maine (147 per 100,000), Minnesota (183 per 100,000) and Rhode Island4 (196 per 100,000). Louisiana (865 per 100,000), Mississippi (690 per 100,000) and Alabama (650 per 100,000) had the highest  imprisonment rates in the country.

Regional Analysis:

  • In 2011, the imprisonment rate in CSG’s Southern region was the highest (547 per 100,000) by a significant margin, followed by the Western region (384 per 100,000) and the Midwestern region (339 per 100,000). CSG’s Eastern region had the lowest imprisonment rate in 2011 at 284 prisoners per 100,000 state residents.
  • Imprisonment rates dropped the most in CSG’s Eastern region from 2010 to 2011, falling 1.91 percent. CSG’s Midwestern region, which dropped 1.24 percent, and Western region, which dropped 1.19 percent, were close behind, while rates in the Southern region fell the least at 0.3 percent.
  • Maine (147 per 100,000) and Rhode Island (196 per 100,000) had the lowest imprisonment rates in the region for 2011, while Pennsylvania (402 per 100,000) and Delaware5 (440 per 100,000) had the highest rates in the region. Delaware’s high rate may be due to the slightly different way the state calculates its rate.
  • From 2010 to 2011, seven of the 11 states in the region experienced a decline in their imprisonment rates. Connecticut saw the largest decline (5.9 percent), followed by New Hampshire (5.7 percent). Of the four states experiencing an increase in their imprisonment rates, only one—Massachusetts by 2 percent—saw an increase greater than 1 percent.

  • In 2011, the imprisonment rate in CSG’s Southern region was the highest (547 per 100,000) by a significant margin, followed by the Western region (384 per 100,000) and the Midwestern region (339 per 100,000). CSG’s Eastern region had the lowest imprisonment rate in 2011 at 284 prisoners per 100,000 state residents.
  • Imprisonment rates dropped the most in CSG’s Eastern region from 2010 to 2011, falling 1.91 percent. CSG’s Midwestern region, which dropped 1.24 percent, and Western region, which dropped 1.19 percent, were close behind, while rates in the Southern region fell the least at 0.3 percent.
  • Minnesota (183 per 100,000) and North Dakota (206 per 100,000) had the lowest imprisonment rates in the region for 2011, while Indiana (442 per 100,000) and Ohio6 (441 per 100,000) had the highest rates in the region. Ohio’s high rate may be due to the slightly different way the state calculates its rate.
  • From 2010 to 2011, eight of the 11 states in the region experienced a decline in their imprisonment rates. Wisconsin saw the largest decline (6.4 percent) followed by North Dakota (5.9 percent). Of the three states experiencing an increase in their imprisonment rates, Indiana saw the largest increase, growing by 2.6 percent, followed by Kansas, whose rate grew by 2.5 percent.

 
  • In 2011, the imprisonment rate in CSG’s Southern region was the highest (547 per 100,000) by a significant margin, followed by the Western region (384 per 100,000) and the Midwestern region (339 per 100,000). CSG’s Eastern region had the lowest imprisonment rate in 2011 at 284 prisoners per 100,000 state residents. 
  • Imprisonment rates dropped the most in CSG’s Eastern region from 2010 to 2011, falling 1.91 percent. CSG’s Midwestern region, which dropped 1.24 percent, and Western region, which dropped 1.19 percent, were close behind, while rates in the Southern region fell the least at 0.3 percent.
  • North Carolina (362 per 100,000) and Virginia (366 per 100,000) had the lowest imprisonment rates in the region for 2011, while Louisiana (865 per 100,000) and Mississippi (690 per 100,000) had the highest rates in the region.
  • From 2010 to 2011, seven of the 15 states in the region experienced a decline in their imprisonment rates. South Carolina saw the largest decline (3.5 percent), followed by Oklahoma (2.8 percent). Of the seven states experiencing an increase in their imprisonment rates, Kentucky saw the largest increase, growing by 4.6 percent ,followed by Tennessee, whose rate grew by 3 percent. Louisiana’s rate remained the same.

  • In 2011, the imprisonment rate in CSG’s Southern region was the highest (547 per 100,000) by a significant margin, followed by the Western region (384 per 100,000) and the Midwestern region (339 per 100,000). CSG’s Eastern region had the lowest imprisonment rate in 2011 at 284 prisoners per 100,000 state residents. 
  • Imprisonment rates dropped the most in CSG’s Eastern region from 2010 to 2011, falling 1.91 percent. CSG’s Midwestern region, which dropped 1.24 percent, and Western region, which dropped 1.19 percent, were close behind, while rates in the Southern region fell the least at 0.3 percent.
  • Utah (242 per 100,000) and Washington7 (259 per 100,000) had the lowest imprisonment rates in the region for 2011, while Arizona8 (589 per 100,000) and Idaho (486 per 100,000) had the highest rates in the region.
  • From 2010 to 2011, eight of the 13 states in the region experienced a decline in their imprisonment rates. California saw the largest decline (10 percent) followed by Colorado9 (4.9 percent). Of the four states experiencing an increase in their imprisonment rates, Alaska10 saw the largest increase, growing by 3.6 percent, followed by Idaho, whose rate grew by 3.2 percent. Nevada’s rate remained the same.

Prison Populations


References:

1 Number of sentenced prisoners under state and federal jurisdiction. Sentenced prisoners are those that have been given a sentence of more than one year, unless stated otherwise.
2 Number of sentenced prisoners under state and federal jurisdiction per 100,000 residents. Sentenced prisoners are those that have been given a sentence of more than one year, unless stated otherwise.
3 All data used throughout the report is from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2000, 2010 and 2011 reports, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=4559
4 Rhode Island’s rate includes both jail and prison populations.
5 Jurisdiction counts include inmates held in nonsecure privately operated community corrections facilities and juveniles held in contract facilities. Delaware’s rate also includes both jail and prison populations.
Includes some prisoners sentenced to 1 year or less.
7 Includes some prisoners sentenced to 1 year or less.
8 Prison jurisdiction population based on custody counts.
9 Includes some prisoners sentenced to 1 year or less.
10 Data include total jail and prison populations.