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Publication Prisoners in 2015

E. Ann Carson, Ph.D., Elizabeth Anderson, Bureau of Justice Statistics

December 29, 2016    NCJ 250229

Presents final counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities at yearend 2015, including admissions, releases, noncitizen inmates, and inmates age 17 or younger. The report describes prisoner populations by jurisdiction, most serious offense, and demographic characteristics. Selected findings on prison capacity and prisoners held in private prisons, local jails, and the U.S. military and territories are also included. Findings are based on data from BJS's National Prisoner Statistics program, which collects data from state departments of correction and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.


  • The total number of prisoners held under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities on December 31, 2015 (1,526,800) decreased by 35,500 (down more than 2%) from yearend 2014.
  • The federal prison population decreased by 14,100 prisoners from 2014 to 2015 (down almost 7%), accounting for 40% of the total change in the U.S. prison population.
  • After increasing during the previous 2 years, the number of state and federal female prisoners decreased by 1% in 2015.
  • State and federal prisons held 1,476,800 persons sentenced to more than 1 year on December 31, 2015.
  • The imprisonment rate in the United States decreased 3%, from 471 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents of all ages in 2014 to 458 prisoners per 100,000 in 2015.

Part of the Prisoners Series

Press Release
Summary (PDF 193K)
Full report (PDF 1.1M)
ASCII file (85K)
Comma-delimited format (Zip format 41K)

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