BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Crime and Justice in the United States
and in England and Wales, 1981-96

Incarceration per 1,000 offenders

Murder:  incarceration offenders Rapists:  incarcerated offenders
Robbers:  incarcerated offenders Assaulters:  incarcerated offenders
Burglars:  incarcerated offenders Motor vehicle thefts:  incarcerated offenders

To the chart data

Notes on figures 43-48: Sentencing data compiled by courts nationwide (courts are identified in Notes on figures 19-24) were used in estimates of the number of incarcerated persons per 1,000 alleged offenders. For all crimes except murder and rape, the number of incarcerated persons per 1,000 alleged offenders was obtained by dividing the number of juveniles and adults sentenced to incarceration for the specified crime during the year (based on court conviction data) by the number of persons committing the crime (and therefore at risk of being incarcerated) that year (based on estimates from crime victim surveys, adjusted to include crimes -- such as those against persons under 12 in the United States and under 16 in England -- outside the scope of the surveys). The number of persons at risk of incarceration is not the same as the number of survey crimes, because each crime can be committed by more than one person. The number of persons at risk of being incarcerated was estimated by multiplying the number of survey crimes by the average number of offenders per offense. For murder and rape, the number of incarcerations per 1,000 alleged offenders was obtained by dividing the number of juveniles and adults incarcerated for murder or rape in the year (based on court conviction data) by the police-recorded number that year of juveniles and adults "allegedly" committing murder (alleged number of murders = number of police- recorded murders multiplied by the average number of murderers per murder according to police homicide data) or rape (alleged number of rapists = number of police-recorded rapes multiplied by the average number of rapists per rape according to victim survey data in the United States and police data in England). Incarceration is defined in Notes on figures 31-36. More details on the conviction and sentencing data for the graphics is given in Notes on figures 19-24. Crime definitions for the graphics are given in Notes on figures 5-10.

Are persons committing a serious crime equally likely in the two countries to be caught, convicted, and incarcerated?

  • A person committing a serious crime in the United States is more likely to be caught, convicted, and incarcerated than one committing a crime in England (including Wales). The sole exception is murder.

    According to the latest available figures (1994 in the United States, 1995 in England), the number of persons incarcerated for --

    • murder for every 1,000 alleged murderers was 466 in the United States and 523 in England, indicating that a murderer's risk of incarceration is 12% greater in England than in the United States (figure 43)
    • rape for every 1,000 alleged rapists was 155 in the United States and 94 in England, indicating that a rapist's risk of incarceration is 65% greater in the United States than in England (figure 44)
    • robbery for every 1,000 alleged robbers was 17 in the United States and 4 in England, indicating that a robber's risk of incarceration in the United States is more than four times that in England (figure 45)
    • assault for every 1,000 alleged assaulters was 15 in the United States and 4 in England, indicating that an assaulter's risk of incarceration in the United States is nearly four times that in England (figure 46)
    • burglary for every 1,000 alleged burglars was 8 in the United States and 2 in England, indicating that a burglar's risk of incarceration in the United States is four times that in England (figure 47)
    • motor vehicle theft for every 1,000 alleged vehicle thieves was 10 in the United States and 4 in England, indicating that a vehicle thief's risk of incarceration in the United States is more than double that in England (figure 48).

    Is an offender's risk of being caught, convicted, and incarcerated rising in each country?

  • The risk of incarceration is rising for persons committing crime in the United States but falling for those committing crime in England. The one exception is murderers in England. Their risk of being caught, convicted, and incarcerated has remained essentially unchanged since 1981.

    Since 1981, the number of persons incarcerated for --

    • murder per 1,000 alleged murderers has risen 46% in the United States (319 in 1981 rising to 466 in 1994) but fallen 2% in England (533 in 1981 falling to 523 in 1995) (figure 43)
    • rape per 1,000 alleged rapists has risen 96% in the United States (79 in 1981 rising to 155 in 1994) but fallen 62% in England (245 in 1981 falling to 94 in 1995) (figure 44)
    • robbery per 1,000 alleged robbers has risen 31% in the United States (13 in 1981 rising to 17 in 1994) but fallen 41% in England (7.1 in 1981 falling to 4.2 in 1995) (figure 45)
    • assault per 1,000 alleged assaulters has nearly tripled in the United States (5.6 in 1981 rising to 15.4 in 1994) but fallen 30% in England (5.4 in 1981 falling to 3.8 in 1995) (figure 46)
    • burglary per 1,000 alleged burglars has risen 53% in the United States (5.5 in 1981 rising to 8.4 in 1994) but fallen 72% in England (7.8 in 1981 falling to 2.2 in 1995) (figure 47)
    • motor vehicle theft per 1,000 alleged vehicle thieves has nearly tripled in the United States (3.6 in 1981 rising to 9.9 in 1994) but fallen 73% in England (13.1 in 1981 falling to 3.5 in 1995) (figure 48).

    Chart data - in spreadsheets
    Figure 43 Figure 44 Figure 45
    Murder Rape Robbery

    Year
    United
    States

    England
    United
    States

    England
    United
    States

    England
    1981 319 533 79 245 13 7
    1982
    1983 346 559 85 202 14 8
    1984
    1985
    1986 423 133 18
    1987 529 150 8
    1988 400 130 16
    1989
    1990 427 135 19
    1991 499 115 7
    1992 475 154 19
    1993 586 87 6
    1994 466 155 17
    1995 523 94 4
    Figure 46 Figure 47 Figure 48
    Assault Burglary Motor vehicle theft

    Year
    United
    States

    England
    United
    States

    England
    United
    States

    England
    1981 5.59 5.38 5.51 7.77 3.59 13.1
    1982
    1983 7.87 7.43 7.32 7.56 6.06 10.48
    1984
    1985
    1986 10.77 7.07 8.85
    1987 6.58 4.79 5.58
    1988 9.6 6.59 8.29
    1989
    1990 15.14 8.03 10.04
    1991 4.74 2.71 2.5
    1992 14.85 9.03 10.75
    1993 4.13 2 2.83
    1994 15.39 8.41 9.89
    1995 3.84 2.24 3.52


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