Number of People In The US Serving Time In State Prison For Drug Offenses, by Race

The most serious offense for 206,300 of the 1,316,409 people in the US sentenced to state facilities at the end of 2014 was a conviction involving illegal drugs. That represents 15.7% of all sentenced prisoners under state jurisdiction. Of this total: 67,800 (32.9%) were non-Latinx white, 68,000 (33.0%) were non-Latinx African American, and 28,800 (7.2%) were Latinx. No race/ethnicity was reported for the remaining 41,700 people (20.2%) serving time in state prison for a drug offense.

(Note: The Bureau of Justice Statistics annual report on prisoners does not provide separate counts for inmates who identify as American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and persons identifying two or more races.)


E. Ann Carson, PhD, and Elizabeth Anderson. Prisoners In 2015. Washington, DC: US Dept of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec. 2016, NCJ250229, p. 30, Appendix Table 5.