Open menu Close menu Open Search Close search Open sharebox Close sharebox
uscensus banner

Custom Search

1. Population
2. Vital Statistics
3. Health and Nutrition
4. Education
5. Law Enforcement, Courts
and Prisons
6. Geography and Environment
7. Parks, Recreation, Travel
8. Elections
9. State and Local Government
Finances and Employment
10. Federal Government
Finances and Employment
11. National Defense and
Veterans Affairs
12. Social Insurance and Human
13. Labor Force, Employment,
and Earnings
14. Income, Expenditures, and
15. Prices
16. Banking, Finance, and
17. Business Enterprise
18. Communications and
Information Technology
19. Energy
20. Science and Technology
21. Transportation - Land
22. Transportation - Air
and Water
23. Agriculture
24. Natural Resources
25. Construction and Housing
26. Manufactures
27. Domestic Trade and
28. Foreign Commerce and Aid
29. Outlying Areas
30. Comparative International
31. Industrial Outlook
32. 1997 Economic Census

369. Federal and State Prisoners

[Based on U.S. Census Bureau estimated resident population, as of July 1. Prior to 1970, excludes State institutions in Alaska. Beginning 1980, includes all persons under jurisdiction of Federal and Stateauthorities rather than those in the custody of such authorities.Represents inmates sentenced to maximum term of more than a year]

Year Total Rate 1 Male Female
1970 196,429 96 190,794 5,635
1971 198,061 95 191,732 6,329
1972 196,092 93 189,823 6,269
1973 204,211 96 197,523 6,004
1974 218,466 102 211,077 7,389
1975 240,593 111 231,918 8,675
1976 262,833 120 252,794 10,039
1977 2 278,141 126 267,097 11,044
1977 3 285,456 129 274,244 11,212
1978 294,396 132 282,813 11,583
1979 301,470 133 289,465 12,005
1980 315,974 139 303,643 12,331
1981 353,167 154 338,940 14,227
1982 394,374 171 378,045 16,329
1983 419,820 179 402,391 17,429
1984 443,398 188 424,193 19,205
1985 480,568 202 458,972 21,296
1986 522,084 217 497,540 24,544
1987 560,812 231 533,990 26,822
1988 603,732 247 573,587 30,145
1989 680,907 276 643,643 37,264
1990 739,980 297 699,416 40,564
1991 789,610 313 745,808 43,802
1992 846,277 332 799,776 46,501
1993 932,074 359 878,037 54,037
1994 1,016,691 389 956,566 60,125
1995 1,085,363 411 1,021,463 63,900
1996 1,136,819 427 1,067,355 69,464
1997 1,195,498 445 1,121,663 73,835
1998 1,252,830 461 1,174,124 78,706
1999 4 1,276,688 468 1,196,498 80,190

NA Not available. 1 Rate per 100,000 estimated population.
2 Custody counts. 3 Jurisdiction counts.
4 As of June 30, 1999.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in State andFederal Institutions on December 31, annual, and CorrectionalPopulations in the United States, annual.

*Correctional Populations in the United States

Survey methodology for prisoner data

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), with the U.S. Bureau of the Census as its collection agent, obtains yearend andmidyear counts of prisoners from departments of correction in each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and theFederal Bureau of Prisons through the National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) program. In an effort to collect comparable datafrom all jurisdictions, NPS distinguishes prisoners in custody from those under jurisdiction. To have custody of a prisoner, aState must hold that person in one of its facilities. To have jurisdiction means that a State has legal authority over theprisoner. Prisoners under a State's jurisdiction may be in the custody of a local jail, another State's prison, or othercorrectional facility. Some States are unable to provide both custody and jurisdiction counts. Excluded from NPS counts arepersons confined in locally administered confinement facilities who are under the jurisdiction of local authorities. NPScounts include all inmates in State-operated facilities in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, andVermont, which have combined jail-prison systems.

In each jurisdiction, the questionnaire was completed by a central agency reporting for institutions within the correctionalsystem. This procedure was also used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in supplying data on Federal institutions. Becausethe information was derived from a complete enumeration rather than a survey, the statistical data are not affected bysampling error. Response errors were held to a minimum by means of a systematic telephone followup and, wherenecessary, other control procedures. Thus, the yearend counts are generally considered reliable. Because of the absence ofstandardized administrative and record keeping practices from State to State, the data for admissions and releases are notalways entirely comparable across jurisdictions.

Many States revise the yearend number reported for the previous year. Those revisions are made in the total, not the detail. For example, thenumber of blacks, whites, and members of other races for 1995 were not changed by a State in 1996 to equal its revised 1995 total. *National Prisoner Statistics category definitions

Jurisdiction population, Dec. 31-- Includes all inmates under jurisdiction of State correctional authorities on Dec. 31 regardless of location.Does not include other jurisdictions' inmates (for example, inmates from other States, pretrial detainees) merely housed in prisons.

Custody population, Dec. 31-- Includes all inmates in the State's custody, that is, housed in State correctional facilities on Dec. 31. Does notinclude State inmates housed outside State prison facilities; does include other jurisdictions' inmates (for example, inmates from other States,the courts, local jails) housed in the State's facilities.

Overcrowding, Dec. 31--Includes all State prison inmates housed in local jails on Dec. 31 and as a direct result of State prison overcrowding.Does not include State prison inmates held in local jails for other reasons (for example, work release, court appearance, etc.).


New court commitments--Includes all inmates who were admitted with new sentences, that is, these inmates were not readmitted for anysentences for which they had already served some prison time. This category includes probation violators entering prison for the first time onthe probated offenses. Does not include parole violators with new sentences.

Parole violators with new sentences--Includes all parolees returned with new sentences.

Other conditional release violators with new sentences--Includes all individuals on conditional release (other than parole) who are returnedwith new sentences, for example, returns from supervised mandatory release, from shock probation, etc.

Parole violators only, no new sentences--Includes all parolees returned only for formal revocations of parole that were not accompanied bynew sentences. If the parole was not formally revoked, that is, the parolee was held only temporarily pending a hearing, no admission occurredfor NPS purposes.

Other conditional release violators only, no new sentences--Same as above, substituting conditional release violator for parole violator.

Transfers from other jurisdictions--Includes all inmates transferred to a State's jurisdiction to continue sentences already in force. Does notinclude admissions if State does not acquire jurisdiction. Does not include movements from prison to prison within State.

Absent without leave (AWOL) returns, with or without sentences--Includes all returns from AWOL, that is, failures to return from authorizedtemporary absences such as work furlough, study release, mercy furlough, or other authorized temporary absence.

Escapee returns, with or without new sentences--Includes all returns from escape, that is, unlawful departures from a State correctionalfacility or from the custody of State correctional personnel.

Returns from appeal/bond--Includes all inmates reinstated to correctional jurisdiction from long-term jurisdictional absences on appeal orbond. Does not include returns from short-term movements (less than 30 days) to court (that is, where the State retains jurisdiction).

Other admissions--Includes all other admissions not covered by the above categories.


Unconditional--An unconditional release occurs only if the released inmate cannot be imprisoned for any sentence for which he/she was inprison.

Expirations of sentence--Includes all inmates whose maximum court sentences minus credits have been served.

Commutations--Includes all inmates whose maximum sentences have been changed (lowered) to time served to allow immediateunconditional release.

Other unconditional releases--Includes all other unconditional releases not covered by the above categories.

Conditional--A conditional release occurs if the released inmate, upon violating the conditions of release, can be imprisoned again for any ofthe sentences for which he/she was in prison.

Probations--Includes all inmates who have been placed under probation supervision and conditionally released; includes all shock probation(split sentence) releases.

Supervised mandatory releases--Includes all inmates who must, by law, be conditionally released. This type of release may also be calledmandatory conditional release.

Paroles--Includes all inmates conditionally released to parole.

Other conditional releases--Includes all other conditional releases not covered by the above categories.



Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)--The immediate cause of death in AIDS mortalities may be Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia,Kaposi's Sarcoma, or other diseases related to HIV infection.

Illness/natural causes--Self-explanatory. AIDS-related deaths not included in this category.


Accidental injury to self--Includes all inmates who accidentally cause their own deaths (for example, a fall from a ladder, mishandling electricalequipment).

Death caused by another person--Includes all inmates whose deaths were caused accidentally or intentionally by another inmate or prisonpersonnel.

Other deaths--Includes all other deaths not covered by the above categories.

Other releases:

Absent without leave (AWOL)--Includes all failures to return from an authorized temporary absence such as work furlough, study release, mercyfurlough, or other authorized temporary absence.

Escapes from confinement--Includes all unlawful departures from a State correctional facility or from the custody of State correctional personnel.

Transfers to other jurisdictions--Includes all inmates who were transferred from one State's jurisdiction to another to continue sentences alreadyin force. Does not include the release if State does not relinquish jurisdiction. Does not include movements from prison to prison within State.

Releases to appeal/bond--Includes all inmates released from correctional jurisdiction to long-term jurisdictional absences on appeal or bond.Does not include short-term movements (less than 30 days) to court (that is, where the State correctional system retains jurisdiction).

Other releases--Includes all other releases not covered by the above categories.


Classification by race often depends on the reporting program and the State. A few States reported two categories: white and nonwhite. A fewothers categorized Hispanic offenders as belonging to "Other race." The number of persons with certain racial backgrounds were sometimesestimated.

White--A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.

Black--A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

American Indian or Alaska Native--A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, who maintains culturalidentification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

Asian or Pacific Islander--A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, orthe Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.

Other--Any other race not covered by the above categories.

Not known--Any inmate whose racial origin is unknown.

Ethnic origin

A person of Hispanic origin may be of any race; however, a few States treat the ethnic category as a racial one. Reporting officials usually relyon self-definition, but some States classify according to surname.

Hispanic--A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.


These tables are based on figures supplied by the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject to revision by the Census Bureau.

Copyright 2019 Photius Coutsoukis and Information Technology Associates, all rights reserved.