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Corrections & Reentry Programs at a Glance
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Corrections & Reentry Practice Outcomes at a GlanceNew
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Corrections & Reentry

The correctional population in the United States includes adults under community supervision (on probation or parole), in state and federal prisons, and in local jails. Over the past three decades the correctional population has increased from approximately 1.8 million in 1980 to nearly 7 million in 2011, with the majority (70%) under the supervision of community corrections (probation or parole). During 2011, the number of persons under supervision of correctional authorities declined by 1.4%, marking the third consecutive year of decrease in the correctional population.[1]

Fast Facts

  • Preliminary data from 2010 indicates that total national, federal, and state-level direct expenditures for corrections (including community corrections) was more than $80 billion.[2]

  • At yearend 2011, approximately 1 in every 34 adults was under correctional supervision, a rate comparable to 1998. About 7 in 10 persons under the supervision of adult correctional systems were on probation or parole, while about 3 in 10 were incarcerated in local jails or in the custody of state or federal prisons.[3]

  • In 2011, the community supervision population declined 1.5% from 4,887,900 to 4,814,200 (or one in every 50 adults). This represented the third consecutive decline observed in the population since data collection began in 1980. All of the decrease in the number of offenders supervised in the community on probation or parole was attributed to the decline in the probation population.[4]

  • After three consecutive years of decline in the jail inmate population, the number of persons confined in county and city jails increased by 1.2% between midyear 2011 and midyear 2012. The majority of the increase occurred in California jails.[5]

  • At midyear 2012, about 6 in 10 jail inmates were not convicted, but were in jail awaiting court action on a current charge—a rate unchanged since 2005. About 4 in 10 inmates were sentenced offenders or convicted offenders awaiting sentencing.[6]

  • Local jails admitted an estimated 11.6 million persons during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2012, about 16 times the size of the inmate population at midyear.[7]

  • According to 2012 advanced count data, the total U.S. prison population declined for the third consecutive year in 2012, from a high of 1,615,487 inmates in 2009 to 1,571,013 at yearend 2012. The federal prison population increased by 1,453 prisoners in 2012 (up 0.7%), while the state prison population declined by 29,223 prisoners (down 2.1%).[8]

  • In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, approximately 53% of state prison inmates were serving time for violent offenses, 18% for property-related offenses, 16% for drug-related offenses, and 11% for public order offenses.[9]

  • Nearly half (48%) of federal inmates in 2011 were serving time for drug offenses, 35% for public-order offenses (largely weapons and immigration offenses), and less than 10% each for violent and property offenses.[10]

  • In 2011, non-Hispanic blacks were imprisoned at higher rates than whites. Among prisoners ages 18 to 19, black males were imprisoned at more than 9 times the rate of white males. Among persons ages 20 to 24, black males were imprisoned at about 7 times that of white males.[11]


Practices New

OJP Publications

Fostering Innovation in Community and Institutional Corrections, Identifying High-Priority Technology and Other Needs for the U.S. Corrections Sector, NIJ-Sponsored, 2015
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Time Difference of Arrival System for Cell Phone Localization in Correctional Facilities, NIJ-Sponsored, 2015

Effect of Solitary Confinement on Institutional Misconduct: A Longitudinal Evaluation, NIJ-Sponsored, 2015

Using Future Internet Technologies To Strengthen Criminal Justice, NIJ-Sponsored, 2015

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2014, BJS, November 2015

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Questions and Answers

Where can I find information about restorative justice programs?
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What legal services are available to inmates?
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Are resources available on how correctional facilities can address the problem of prison rape?
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