Race & Prison

People sentenced to prison, jail, other correctional facilities, or community corrections. Statistics and other data regarding race and the correctional system, including prisons, jails, other correctional facilities, probation, and parole.

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

"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.

Number of People in the US Serving Time in State and Federal Prisons, by age, sex, race, and Latinx ethnicity

On December 31, 2015, state and federal prisons combined held a total of 1,476,847 people, of whom 499,400 were non-Latinx whites, 523,000 were non-Latinx blacks, 319,400 Latinx, and 135,100 whose race/ethnicity was counted as "other".

Click here for complete datatable of Number of People in the US Serving Time in State and Federal Prisons, by age, sex, race, and Latinx ethnicity, on December 31, 2015

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

An illegal drug conviction was the most serious offense for 206,300 out of the 1,316,409 people in the US sentenced to state prison facilities at the end of 2014. 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.

African American Males in Prison in the US

"On December 31, 2014, black males had higher imprisonment rates than prisoners of other races or Hispanic origin within every age group. Imprisonment rates for black males were 3.8 to 10.5 times greater at each age group than white males and 1.4 to 3.1 times greater than rates for Hispanic males. The largest disparity between white and black male prisoners occurred among inmates ages 18 to 19. Black males (1,072 prisoners per 100,000 black male residents ages 18 to 19) were more than 10 times more likely to be in state or federal prison than whites (102 per 100,000)."

Impact of the Over-Incarceration of Young Black Males in the US

"The spectacular growth in the American penal system over the last three decades was concentrated in a small segment of the population, among young minority men with very low levels of education. By the early 2000s, prison time was a common life event for this group, and today more than two-thirds of African American male dropouts are expected to serve time in state or federal prison.

Incarceration Rates by Race and Gender in the US in 2007

"Changes in the incarceration rates for men and women by race were associated with changes to the overall composition of the custody population at midyear 2007. Black men had an incarceration rate of 4,618 per 100,000 U.S. residents at midyear 2007, down from 4,777 at midyear 2000. For white men, the midyear 2007 incarceration rate was 773 per 100,000 U.S. residents, up from 683 at midyear 2000. The ratio of the incarceration rates of black men to white men declined from 7 to 6 during this period.

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.

Imprisonment Rates In The US By Age And Gender

"There were 440 prisoners sentenced to more than one year in state or federal prison per 100,000 U.S. residents on December 31, 2017, the lowest rate since 1997 (444 per 100,000) (table 5; see figure 1). Among U.S. residents age 18 or older, 568 in 100,000 were imprisoned on a sentence of more than one year at year-end 2017. At that time, 1.1% of adult males living in the United States (1,082 in 100,000) were serving a sentence of more than one year, representing a 2% decrease from year-end 2016 (1,108 in 100,000).

Pages