BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:00 P.M. EST Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2008 Contact: Kara McCarthy: 202-307-1241
WWW.OJP.GOV After hours: 781-308-3696


WASHINGTON—More than 7.3 million men and women were under correctional supervision in the nation’s prisons or jails or on probation or parole at yearend 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. About 3.2 percent of the U.S. adult population, or one in every 31 adults, was incarcerated or under community supervision at the end of 2007. This percentage has remained stable since reaching more than 3 percent in 1999.

About 70 percent (5.1 million) of the adults under correctional supervision at yearend 2007 were supervised in the community (either on probation or parole), and 30 percent (2.3 million) were incarcerated in the nation’s prisons or jails. Offenders held in custody in state or federal prisons or local jails increased by 1.5 percent since yearend 2006. The population under community supervision (either on probation or parole) increased 2.1 percent.

State and federal correctional authorities had jurisdiction or legal authority over nearly 1.6 million prisoners, an increase of 1.8 percent since yearend 2006. Though the number of prisoners increased, the rate of growth, compared to the average annual growth from 2000 to 2006, slowed by 0.2 percent. The imprisonment rate continued to increase, reaching 506 persons per 100,000 U.S. residents.

During 2007, the federal prison population experienced the largest absolute increase of 6,572 prisoners, followed by Florida (5,250), Kentucky (2,457), and Arizona (1,945). Combined, these increases resulted in 59 percent of the overall change in the U.S. prison population.

Federal prisons operated at 136 percent of capacity in 2007. State prisons operated between 96 percent of highest capacity and 113 percent of lowest capacity, compared to between 100 percent and 115 percent in 2000. This trend indicates that prison populations are increasing at the same rate of capacity.

More than eight in 10 offenders supervised in the community at yearend 2007 were on probation (4,293,163), while less than two in 10 offenders were on parole (824,365). About one in every 45 adults in the U.S. was on probation or parole at the end of the year.

The total community supervision population grew by 103,100 offenders during 2007. While the parole population (up 3.2 percent) increased at a faster pace than probation (up 1.8 percent) in 2007, probation accounted for three-quarters (77,800) of the growth in offenders under community supervision.

Entries to probation supervision (2.4 million) exceeded exits from supervision (2.3 million) in 2007. Similarly, entries to parole supervision (555,900) also exceeded exits from parole (531,400) during 2007. A total of 1,180,469 parolees were at risk of being re-incarcerated in 2007, which included those under parole supervision on January 1 or who entered parole during the year. Of these parolees, about 16 percent were re-incarcerated in 2007.

The report, Prisoners in 2007 (NCJ-224280), was written by BJS statisticians Heather C. West and William J. Sabol, Ph.D., and Probation and Parole in the United States, 2007 – Statistical Tables (NCJ-224707) was prepared by BJS statisticians Lauren E. Glaze and Thomas P. Bonczar. Following publication, Prisoners in 2007 can be found at and Probation and Parole in the United States, 2007 – Statistical Tables can be found at

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS Web site at

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey L. Sedgwick, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. In addition, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) Office. More information can be found at

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