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ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EST
SUNDAY, March 25, 2001      202/307-0784

NATION'S STATE PRISON POPULATION GROWTH SLOWS -- LOWEST ANNUAL RATE INCREASE SINCE 1971

WASHINGTON, D.C. - During the year ending June 30, 2000, the nation's state prison population grew by the smallest percentage in 29 years, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The growth in the number of prisoners in state facilities rose by 1.5 percent, according to the BJS report.

The BJS bulletin, "Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2000" (NCJ 185989), indicated that federal Bureau of Prisons' facilities reported a slight slowdown in growth-a 9.3 percent increase in the number of inmates. In absolute numbers, the total increase of 30,710 in state and federal prisons between July 1, 1999, and June 30, 2000, was the smallest 12-month increase in the last decade and about half the average annual growth (59,244) since 1990.

As of last June 30, state and federal prisons and local jails held 1,931,859 men and women behind bars - more than ever before despite the slower growth rates. Two-thirds (1.3 million) of the incarcerated population were held in state prisons, the District of Columbia and the federal system. The other third (621,149) were held in local jails.

During the survey period, the number incarcerated in both prisons and jails increased by 56,660 inmates. Since the end of 1990, the total incarcerated population has risen by more than 783,000-a 68 percent increase. The federal system (12,152 additional inmates) accounted for almost 40 percent of the growth in the nation's prison population during the 12 months ending June 30, 2000. The report also indicated that an estimated 12 percent of all black males 20 through 34 years old were in a prison or jail, compared to 4 percent of Hispanic males in the same age group and about 2 percent of white males of the same ages.

Privately operated prison facilities held 76,010 inmates last June 30-up 9.1 percent in the six months from December 31, 1999, the BJS bulletin noted. Texas (with 14,339) and Oklahoma (with 6,735) reported the largest number of state inmates housed in private facilities at mid-year 2000. Four states-New Mexico (41 percent), Alaska (34 percent), Montana (32 percent) and Oklahoma (29 percent)-had at least 25 percent of their prisoners in private facilities.

Between December 31, 1990, and June 30, 2000, the rate of prison incarceration increased from 1 in every 218 U.S. residents to 1 in every 142 residents. As of last June 30, there were 110 female inmates per 100,000 women in the U.S., compared to 1,297 per 100,000 men. Women accounted for 6.7 percent of all state and federal prisoners on that date, compared to 5.7 percent in 1990.

Among the states, Idaho (up 17.9 percent), Delaware (up 12.5 percent) and North Dakota (up 10.5 percent) had the largest percentage increases in their prison populations. Eleven states had decreases, including Massachusetts (down 4.8 percent), Alaska (down 4.4 percent), New York (down 3.1 percent) and New Jersey (down 2.8 percent).

As of last June 30, local jails were operating at 8 percent below their officially rated capacity. State prisons were between 1 percent and 17 percent above capacity at the end of 1999 (the latest available data) and federal prisons were estimated to be 32 percent above capacity.

On June 30, 2000, an estimated 56 percent of the nation's local jail inmates were awaiting court action on their current charge. Jail authorities also supervised more than 65,800 offenders in alternative programs outside of jail facilities, including persons under home detention, electronic monitoring, work release and other alternative supervision programs. There were 7,615 persons younger than 18 years old in adult jails on June 30, 2000-down from 9,458 the same time the year before.

The bulletin was written by BJS statisticians Allen J. Beck and Jennifer C. Karberg. To access this report prior to release, e-mail askbjs@ojp.usdoj.gov and include "Release for March 25, 2001" in the subject line. Single copies may be obtained from the BJS clearinghouse number: 1-800-851-3420. Fax orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358. After the release date this report will be available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=874. The BJS Internet site is:

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/

Additional criminal justice materials can be obtained from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

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BJS01058
After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354



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