National Prison Population Growth: A BJS Report

National Prison Population Growth: A BJS Report

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Bureau of Justice Statistics. "National Prison Population Growth: A BJS Report." Alaska Justice Forum 12(4): 3-4 (Winter 1996). At the end of June 1995, state and federal prisons held 1,104,074 inmates - about two-thirds of the more than 1.5 million adults incarcerated in the U.S. in mid-1995. (The other third, primarily people awaiting trial or serving sentences of a year or less, are held in local jails.) The U.S. prison population increased 8.8 percent between mid-1994 and mid-1995. This article was derived from the BJS reports "Prisoners in 1994", NCJ-151654 and "Prisoners at Midyear 1995", NCJ-158021.

At the end of June 1995, state and federal prisons held 1,104,074 inmates (Table 1).

State and federal prisons, which primarily house convicted felons serving sentences of a year or more, hold about two-thirds of the more than 1.5 million adults incarcerated in the United States. The other third are held in locally operated jails, which primarily house people awaiting trial or serving sentences of a year or less. On June 30, 1994, the most recent date for which jail data are available, 483,717 adults were in local jails.

The combined state and federal prison population increase of 8.8 per cent between mid-1994 and mid-1995 was slightly higher than the average annual growth (7.9%) recorded since 1990 (Table 2).

Table 2. Number of Adults in Custody of State or Federal Prisons or in Local Jails, 1980, 1985, 1990-1994

During the year preceding June 30, 1995, prison populations increased by at least 10 per cent in 23 states. Texas reported the largest growth (nearly 27%), followed by West Virginia (26%) and North Carolina (18%). Prison populations declined in the District of Columbia (down 5.0%), Alaska (3.1%), Arkansas (1.0%) and South Carolina (0.8%).

Between 1980 and 1994 the total number of people held in federal and state prisons and local jails almost tripled — increasing from 501,886 to 1,483,410. As of December 31, 1994, the total incarceration rate reached 565 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents.

The incarceration rate of state and federal prisoners sentenced to more than a year reached 403 per 100,000 U.S. residents on June 30, 1995. Texas led the nation with 659 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 state residents, followed by Louisiana (573 per 100,000), Oklahoma (536) and South Carolina (510). The states with the lowest rates were North Dakota (90 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 state residents), Minnesota (103) and Maine (112).

The preceding article is derived from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports "Prisoners in 1994," NCJ-151654, and "Prisoners at Midyear 1995," NCJ-158021. Copies of the entire report may be obtained from the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Unit or on the World Wide Web from BJS.