BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Correctional populations and facilities

Correctional populations | Correctional facilities


Correctional populations

Probationers

Probationers are criminal offenders who have been sentenced to a period of correctional supervision in the community in lieu of incarceration. On December 31, 2007, a total of 4,293,163 adult men and women were serving a probation sentence in the United States. During 2007, the adult probation population grew 1.8%, which represented an increase of 70,802 probationers. Fifty-one percent of all probationers had been convicted of a misdemeanor, 47% of a felony, and 3% of other infractions. Eight in ten (82%) probationers under supervision on December 31, 2007 were supervised for a non-violent offense, including more than a quarter (27%) for a drug offense.

Source: BJS, Probation and Parole in the United States, 2007 - Statistical Tables, NCJ 224707, December 2008. Data collected annually through BJS' probation and parole series beginning in 1980. See 2007 Annual Probation Survey and 2007 Annual Parole Survey.

An estimated 16% of mentally ill probationers and 21% of other probationers reported their current offense was a drug offense.

Source: BJS, Mental Health and Treatment of Inmates and Probationers, NCJ 174463, July 1999. Data collected through the first national survey of adults on probation, which was conducted one time in 1995. See Survey of Adults on Probation.

Jail inmates

In 2002 an estimated 155,900 jail inmates were held for a drug offense, an increase from 114,100 in 1996.

The percentage of jail inmates held for drug offenses rose slightly to 25% in 2002 from 22% in 1996. Drug trafficking accounted for most of the increase.

Most serious offense of jail inmates, 2002, 1996, and 1989
               
    Percent of jail inmates
   
Most serious offense 2002 1996 1989

Violent offenses 25.4 % 26.3 % 22.5 %
  Murder/a 2.0   2.8   2.8  
  Assault 11.7   11.6   7.2  
  Other sexual assault 2.8   2.7   2.6  
Property offenses 24.4 % 26.9 % 30.0 %
  Burglary 6.7   7.6   10.7  
  Larceny/theft 7.0   8.0   7.9  
Drug offenses 24.7 % 22.0 % 23.0 %
  Possession 10.8   11.5   9.7  
  Trafficking 12.1   9.2   12.0  
  Other drug 1.8   1.3   1.3  
Public-order offenses 24.9 % 24.3 % 22.8 %
  Driving while intoxicated/b 6.4   7.4   8.8  
  Drunkenness/c 1.7   2.0   1.7  
 
Note: Excludes inmates for whom offense was unknown.
a/Includes nonnegligent manslaughter.
b/Includes public and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
c/Includes drunkenness, vagrancy, disorderly conduct, unlawful assembly, morals, and commercialized vice.
 
Source: BJS, Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002, NCJ 201932, July 2004.

Among jail inmates being held for a drug offense who said they had been tested for HIV/AIDS and reported a result, 1.6% were HIV positive. The percentage of jail inmates reporting that they were HIV positive varied by level of prior drug use.

Source: BJS, HIV in Prisons and Jails, 2002, NCJ 205333, December 2004. Data collected through BJS' national survey of local jail inmates, which is conducted periodically. See Survey of Inmates in Local Jails.
Local jail inmates ever tested for HIV and results, by offense and prior drug use, 2002
 
    Tested jail inmates who reported results
   
Characteristics Number Percent HIV position

           
Current offense/a        
  Violent 90,751   0.7 %
  Property 95,599   1.8  
  Drug 96,003   1.6  
  Public-order 87,374   1.1  
Prior drug use/b        
  Never used 51,248   0.4 %
  Ever used 322,617   1.5  
  Used month before offense/c 162,027   1.5  
  Used needle to inject drugs/d 66,606   3.2  
  Shared a needle/e 22,288   7.5  
 
a/Excludes jail inmates whose offense was unknown.
b/ Inmates were asked a detailed set of questions about past use of illegal drugs. These drugs included marijuana, barbiturates, methaqualone, tranquilizers (without a doctor's prescription), methamphetamine, other amphetamines, crack, cocaine other than crack, heroin, other opiates, PCP, LSD, inhaled or sniffed substances, and other drugs.
c/ Inmates who were unconvicted (awaiting arraignment, awaiting trial or on trial) were not asked any questions about drug use during the month before the arrest for which they were currently detained.
d/ All inmates who reported prior drug use were asked: "Have you ever used a needle to get any drug injected under your skin, into a muscle or into a vein for non-medical reasons?"
e/ Inmates who reported ever using a needle to inject drugs were asked: "Have you ever used a needle that you knew or suspected had been used by someone else for injecting drugs or shared a needle that you had used with someone else?"
 
Source: BJS, HIV in Prisons and Jails, 2002, NCJ 205333, December 2004.

State prisoners

An estimated 1,296,700 sentenced prisoners were under state jurisdiction at yearend 2005. About 53% (687,700) were held for violent offenses, 20% (253,300) for drug offenses, and 19% (248,900) for property offenses.

Source: BJS, Prisoners in 2007, NCJ 224280, December 2008.

About 19% of state prisoners who had a mental health problem and 24% without a mental health problem were incarcerated for a drug offense.

Source: BJS, Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates, NCJ 213600, September 2006. Data collected through BJS' national survey of state prisoners, which is conducted periodically. See Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities.

Among male state prisoners, drug offenders (59%) were more likely than both violent (47%) and property (48%) offenders to report having children. Male drug offenders (59%) in state prison were equally likely as male public-order offenders (60%) in state prison to be a father.

For women held in state prison, drug offenders (63%) were more likely than violent offenders (57%) to be a mother of minor children. Female drug offenders (63%) in state prison were equally likely as both female property and public-order offenders (both 65%) in state prison to be a mother.

Source: BJS, Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children, NCJ 222984, August 2008.  Data collected through BJS' national survey of state prisoners, which is conducted periodically. See Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities.

Among state prisoners being held on a drug offense who reported being tested for HIV 1.8% reported being HIV positive.

State inmates ever tested, by offenses
         
    Number Percent HIV positive
 
  Violent 457,900 1.3 %
  Property 183,800 2.6  
  Drug 201,800 1.8  
  Public-order 110,700 0.9  
 
Note: Data are from the 2004 Surveys of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities.
 
Source: BJS, HIV in Prisons, 2004, NCJ 213897, November 2006. Data collected through BJS' national survey of state prisoners, which is conducted periodically. See Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities.

An estimated 60% of state inmates who reported ever using a needle to inject drugs said they had a medical problem (excluding injury) since admission to prison, compared to 40% of those who did not use a needle.

Inmates who reported ever using a needle to inject drugs reported a higher prevalence of physical or mental impairment. Among state prisoners, about 43% of those who used a needle and 35% of those who did not use a needle to inject drugs reported having some physical or mental impairment.

Source: BJS, Medical Problems of Prisoners, NCJ 221740, April 2008. Data collected through BJS' national survey of state prisoners, which is conducted periodically. See Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities.

Population by gender

Violent offenders accounted for the largest proportion of both male (54%) and female (35%) state prisoners at yearend 2005.



Percent of sentenced prisoners under state jurisdiction, by gender and offense, 2005
           
    Male Female
 
Total 100 % 100 %
  Violent 54   35  
  Property 19   29  
  Drug 19 % 29 %
  Public-order 8   6  
  Other/unspecified .6   1.2  
   
  Source: BJS, Prisoners in 2007, NCJ 224280, December 2008.

Population by race

Over half of white, black, and Hispanic prisoners under state jurisdiction were violent offenders in 2005.

Estimated percent of sentenced prisoners under state jurisdiction, by race and offense, 2005
  White   Black   Hispanic

Total   100 %     100 %     100 %
Violent   50       55       55  
Property   24       16       16  
Drug   15       23       21
Public-order   9       6       7  
Other/unspecified   .8       .5       .5  
 
Source: BJS, Prisoners in 2007, NCJ 224280, December 2008.

Federal prisoners

There were 179,204 sentenced prisoners under federal jurisdiction at yearend 2007. About (53%) (95,446) of federal prisoners were drug offenders. An additional 31% (56,273) prisoners were public-order offenders, held for offenses such as immigration and weapon violations. Between 2000 and 2007, drug offenders represented 45% of the growth in the federal prison population; public-order offenders, 50%.

Source: BJS, Prisoners in 2007, NCJ 224280, December 2008.

In 1997, 16% of incarcerated federal drug offenders reported being an importer, grower, or manufacturer of illicit drugs; 25% reported that they distributed drugs to street-level dealers.

Source: BJS, Federal Drug Offenders, 1999 with Trends 1984-99, NCJ 187285, August 2001.

In federal prison, where the majority of inmates are incarcerated for a drug trafficking offense, about 51% of prisoners who had a mental health problem and 58% without a mental health problem were in prison for a drug offense.

Source: BJS, Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates, NCJ 213600, September 2006. Data collected through BJS' national survey of federal prisoners, which is conducted periodically. See Survey of Inmates in Federal Correctional Facilities.

Among men held in federal prison, drug offenders (69%) were more likely than both property (54%) and violent (50%) offenders to be a father of minor children. The likelihood of being a mother in federal prison did not vary by offense.

Source: BJS, Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children, NCJ 222984, August 2008.  Data collected through BJS' national survey of federal prisoners, which is conducted periodically. See Survey of Inmates in Federal Correctional Facilities.

Correctional facilities
Juveniles

In 2001, the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, a data collection conducted by the Office of Juveniles Justice and Delinquency (OJJDP), reported that a total of 9,086 juveniles were confined in a facility had committed a drug offense. Of this number, 5,685 juveniles were confined in a public facility and 3,390 in a private facility. The number decreased from 9,882 in 1999.

Source: OJJDP, Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook, FS 200008, 2001.

As of September 30, 1994, 124 juvenile delinquents were confined in a state juvenile correctional facility under contract to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. (The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not have its own facilities for juveniles.) Most (64%) were adjudicated delinquent of a violent offense, and 14% were delinquent of a drug offense.

Juvenile delinquents confined by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 1994
 
Most serious offense Number Percent

Total* 124 100.0 %
Violent offenses 77 64.7  
Property offenses 16 13.4  
Drug offenses 17 14.3  
Public-order offenses 9 7.6  
 
*Includes cases for which an offense category could not be determined.
 
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, SENTRY system data file, fiscal year ending September 30, 1994 as presented in Juvenile Delinquents in the Federal Criminal Justice System, NCJ 163066, January 1997.

During 1994, 102 juvenile delinquents were released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons from a juvenile correctional facility. The average time served was --


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