BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EDT BJS
Tuesday, July 30, 2002 202/307-0784

STATE PRISON POPULATION DROPS IN SECOND HALF OF 2001
FEDERAL INMATE GROWTH CONTINUES

WASHINGTON, D.C.—During 2001, the nation's prison population rose at the lowest rate since 1972 and had the smallest absolute increase since 1979, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Overall, the number of prisoners in state prisons increased by 3,193 men and women (up 0.3 percent) last year, while the federal prison system added 11,577 inmates (up 8.0 percent). During the last six months of 2001 the state prison population fell by 3,705 men and women (down 0.3 percent), while the federal prison system added 4,205 inmates (up 2.8 percent).

As of December 31, 2001, there were 2,100,146 United States residents incarcerated in the following facilities:

State and Federal Prisons 1,324,465 1
Local Jails 631,240  
Juvenile Detention Facilities 108,965 2
U.S. Territorial Prisons 15,852  
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization facilities 8,761  
Armed Services (Military) Prisons 2,436  
Indian Country Jails 1,912  

1 Excludes inmates in local jails held for federal and state authorities
2 As of October 1999
     

Since 1995, the number of male state and federal prisoners has grown 24 percent, reaching 1,313,000 in 2001, whereas the number of female prisoners has increased 36 percent, reaching 93,031, or 6.6 percent of all state and federal prisoners.

The largest growth in state inmates between 1990 and 2000 was among violent offenders. During the decade the number of violent offenders grew 273,200. As a percentage of the total growth in this time period, violent offenders accounted for 53 percent.

Prisoners sentenced for drug offenses constituted the largest group of Federal inmates, 57 percent, in 2000. In addition, between 1990 and 2000, the number of Federal inmates held for weapons offenses increased 247 percent.

The bulletin, "Prisoners in 2001" (NCJ-195189), was written by BJS statisticians Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison. The bulletin provides further numerous details on federal and state prisoner statistics. Single copies may be obtained by calling the BJS Clearinghouse at 1-800-851-3420. In addition, this document can be accessed at:

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=926

For further information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other OJP programs, please see the OJP website at

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Media calls should be directed to Stu Smith in OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at stu@ojp.usdoj.gov or 202-307-0784. After hours: 301-983-9354.

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