In a report on the population of correctional facilities in the United States, the authors found that the population of people who were under some form of supervision had dropped past 6.4 million for the first time since 1999 (Minton et al.). They estimated that the inmate population across the US stood at 6.344 million as of the end of 2019 (Minton et al.). Their figures included people incarcerated in US prisons and those under probation and parole. Their report also shows that at least 2.5% of the adult population in the US were under some form of supervision in 2019 representing a drop from 3.1% ten years earlier (Minton et al.).
The statistics used to compile the report weres sources from various Bureau of Justice Statistics data collection. Further, participation by local, state, and federal employees was voluntary. The various sources of BJS data collection included the annual probation survey and annual parole. This survey was initiated in the 1980s and collects data on adults under supervision across the US. Another source was the annual survey of jails which collects data on local jails in the US. The Census of Jails which provides data on the number and characteristics of inmates at federal and state levels was also used as a source for the report. The Congres mandated National Prisoner Statistics Program that collects data from the 50 states’ correctional facilities and the federal bureau of prisons was also used in the report compilation. Finally, the survey of jails in the Indian country was the final source of statistics quoted in the paper.
While correcting and analyzing the data, the authors adjusted the count to exclude dual correctional statuses. Data collected for individuals under parole, probation, and supervision was adjusted to capture nonresponses. Finally, all estimates from the various jails across the US represented estimates from the time under consideration by the researchers (2009-2019). Due to intermittent changes that may have occurred over time, the authors warned that comparison between jurisdictions and between different years in the same jurisdictions would not be valid.
Table of States
Table 1: Number and Rate of Persons Supervised in the US
|Jurisdiction||Total Correctional Population||Number of supervised adults per 100,000 (Adults)||Number of supervised adults per 100,000 (All)||Number on Parole/ Probation||Number on parole/probation per 100,000 US (adults)||Number on parole/probation per 100,000 US (all ages)||Number in local jail||Number in local jail per 100,000 (adult)||Number in local jail per 100,000 (All)|
From the table above, Texas, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana have the highest number of supervised adults per 100,000 adults in the US. In terms of absolute number, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama have the highest population of inmates. In addition, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisiana have the highest number of people in local jails. Finally, the number of people under parole or probation is the highest in Texas and Georgia.
Summary of Key Findings
From the analysis of the information collected by the researchers, the population in correctional facilities in the US declined by 1% in 2019 (Minton et al.). In addition, a consistent annual decline in the prison population has seen a 12.4% decline from 2009 to 2019 (Minton et al.). In 2019, the number of people incarcerated per 100,000 people was the lowest since 1991. Further, the number of people under supervision had dropped to the lowest level in two decades. Finally, parole was the only category of supervision that witnessed a 6.6% growth (Minton et al.).
Minton, Todd, et al. “Correctional Populations in the United States, 2019 – Statistical Tables.” Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs, 2021.