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Publication Prisoners in 2009 (Revised)

Heather C. West, Ph.D., William J. Sabol, Ph.D., Sarah J. Greenman, Bureau of Justice Statistics

December 15, 2011    NCJ 231675

This annual report presents data on prisoners under jurisdiction of federal or state correctional authorities on December 31, 2009, collected from the National Prisoner Statistics series. It compares changes in the prison population during 2009 to changes from yearend 2000 through yearend 2008, and explores factors leading to a decline in the state prison population. Findings cover data on decreasing growth in state and federal prisons through declining admissions, sentence lengths, and imprisonment rates for prisoners sentenced to more than 1 year by jurisdiction; the number of males and females in prison; age, race, and gender distributions; and custody incarceration rates. 


  • The U.S. prison population grew at its slowest rate (0.2%) since 2000, reaching 1,613,740 prisoners at yearend 2009.
  • Prison admissions (down 2.5%) and prison releases (up 2.2%) converged from 2006 through 2009, slowing the growth of the nation's prison population.
  • From 2000 to 2008, the state prison population increased by 159,200 prisoners, and violent offenders accounted for 60% of this increase. The number of drug offenders in state prisons declined by 12,400 over this period.

Part of the Prisoners Series

Press Release
Full report (PDF 722K)
ASCII file (46K)
Spreadsheets (Zip format 54K)

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National Prisoner Statistics (NPS) Program

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