prisons

US Imprisonment Rates by Race

"Between year-end 2015 and year-end 2016, the rate of imprisonment for black adults decreased 4% (from 1,670 per 100,000 in 2015 to 1,608 per 100,000 in 2016) (figure 2). The imprisonment rate declined 29% since 2006 (2,261 per 100,000). The rate for white adults decreased 2% between 2015 (281 per 100,000) and 2016 (274 per 100,000), and it declined 15% during the past decade (324 per 100,000 in 2006). The imprisonment rate for Hispanic adults decreased 1%, from 862 per 100,000 in 2015 to 856 in 2016.

People Serving Time in Federal Prisons in the US For Whom Drug Possession is the Most Serious Offense

The US Dept. of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that on Sept. 30, 2012, there were a total of 187,773 people sentenced and serving time in US federal prison for any offense. Of those, 97,214 people (51.8% of the total) had as their most serious charge a drug offense: 96,907 of them for drug trafficking or manufacture (51.6% of the total), 296 for drug possession (0.16% of the total), and 11 for "other"* drug offenses.

44,700 People Serving Sentences in State Prisons in the US Whose Most Serious Offense was Possession

The US Dept. of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that at yearend 2015, 1,298,159 people were serving sentences in state prisons in the US, of whom 197,200 (15.2% of the total) had as their most serious offence a drug charge: 44,700 for drug possession (3.4% of the total), and 152,500 for "other" drug offenses, including manufacturing and sale (11.7% of the total).

Number of People Sentenced and Serving Time in State and Federal Prisons in the US

"The United States had an estimated 1,505,400 prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities as of December 31, 2016 (year-end). This was a decline of 21,200 prisoners (down 1%) from year-end 2015. State prisons held 13,900 fewer prisoners in 2016 than in 2015, while the federal prison population decreased by 7,300 (down almost 4%). For sentenced prisoners, the imprisonment rates at year-end 2016 were the lowest since 1997, with 450 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents of all ages and 582 per 100,000 U.S. residents age 18 or older (figure 1).

Number of People Serving Time in Norwegian Prisons for Drug Offenses

"As of 1 January 2012, there were a total of 4,052 inmates in Norwegian prisons, including those serving their sentences at home with electronic monitoring and those remanded in custody. Of all inmates at the start of the year, 29 per cent were serving sentences for drug offences (2011: 30%), 22 per cent for crimes against property and 21 per cent for violent crimes as their primary offence. Of the 910 persons held on remand at the start of 2012, 36 per cent had drug crime as their primary offence, approximately the same proportion as in 2011 (37%)."

Number Of People Serving Time In Federal Prison, by Most Serious Offense - 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2008-2015

In 2015, federal prisons held a total of 185,917 sentenced adult prisoners. Of those, 13,700 had a violent offense as the most serious charge for which they had been sentenced, 11,200 had a property offense as the most serious charge for which they had been sentenced, 92,000 had a drug offense as the most serious charge for which they had been sentenced, and 67,500 had a public order offense as the most serious charge for which they had been sentenced. Additionally, there were 1,400 for whom the charges were unknown or unspecified.

Number of people held in US State or Federal Prisons or in Local Jails, by Type of Facility, 2000 and 2007-2015

In 2015, there were 2,168,400 people behind bars in the US. This includes state and federal prisons as well as local and county jails. Of these, 195,800 people were federal prisoners, and 1,244,400 were state prisoners, and local jails held a total of 728,200 people. The adult incarceration rate in 2015 was 670 people per 100,000 US residents of all ages, or 870 people per 100,000 US residents aged 18 or older.

Click here for the complete data table for 2000 and 2006-2015.

People Held in Prisons in 2007, by Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Age

"Of the 2.3 million inmates in custody, 2.1 million were men and 208,300 were women (table 9). Black males represented the largest percentage (35.4%) of inmates held in custody, followed by white males (32.9%) and Hispanic males (17.9%).

"Over a third (33.8%) of the total male custody population was ages 20 to 29 (appendix table 10). The largest percentage of black (35.5%) and Hispanic (39.9%) males held in custody were ages 20 to 29. White males ages 35 to 44 accounted for the largest percentage (30.1%) of the white male custody population.

State Spending on Corrections

(2012) States spent $53.2 billion on Corrections in 2012. That year, states spent $171.8 billion on Higher Education and only $24.4 billion on Public Assistance.
(2011) States spent $52 billion on Corrections in 2011. That year, states spent $171.8 billion on Higher Education and only $27.6 billion on Public Assistance.
(2010) States spent $51.1 billion on Corrections in 2010. That year, states spent $164.8 billion on Higher Education and only $26.6 billion on Public Assistance.