Jail Inmate Population in the US by Gender and Race/Ethnicity at Yearend 2016

There were 704,500 people confined in local jails in the US on December 31, 2016, of whom 602,200 were male and 102,300 were female. Juveniles held as adults numbered 3,000, plus an additional 700 juveniles who were held as juveniles. Racial demographics were as follows: white, 338,700; black/African-American, 242,200; Latinx, 107,200; American Indian/Alaska native: 8,600; Asian/native Hawaiian/other Pacific islander: 5,600; two or more races: 2,100. Only 245,900 people confined to a local jail had been convicted of any crimes and had either already been sentenced or were awaiting sentencing. The remaining 458,600 people confined to local jails were unconvicted and awaiting court action on a current charge.

"Non-Hispanic blacks (599 per 100,000 black U.S. residents) had the highest jail incarceration rate at year-end 2016, followed by American Indian or Alaska Natives (359 per 100,000 AIAN residents). Non-Hispanic whites (171 per 100,000 white residents) and Hispanics (185 per 100,000 Hispanic residents) were incarcerated at a similar rate at year-end 2016. Among non-Hispanics in 2016, blacks were incarcerated in jail at a rate 3.5 times that of whites, down from 5.6 times the rate in 2000.

"At year-end 2016, an estimated 85% of the jail population were male (table 3). Juveniles (those age 17 or younger) made up of 0.5% of the inmates held in local jails, down from 1.2% in 2000.

"White non-Hispanic inmates accounted for 48% of the jail population in 2016, up from 42% in 2000. In comparison, the percentage of black non-Hispanic inmates declined from 41% in 2000 to 34% in 2016. Hispanics represented 15% of the jail population in both 2000 and 2016. American Indian or Alaska Native inmates and Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander inmates each represented about 1% of the jail population."


Zhen Zeng, PhD, "Jail Inmates in 2016," Bureau of Justice Statistics (Washington, DC: Department of Justice, Feb. 2018), NCJ251210, pp. 3-4 and p. 8, Appendix Table 1.