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Publication Probation and Parole in the United States, 2012

Laura M. Maruschak, Thomas P. Bonczar, Bureau of Justice Statistics

December 19, 2013    NCJ 243826

Presents data on adult offenders under community supervision while on probation or parole during 2012. The report describes trends in the overall community supervision population and reports on change in the probation and parole populations. It provides statistics on the number of offenders entering and exiting probation and parole and their average length of stay. The report describes the outcomes of supervision, including the rate at which offenders completed their term of supervision or were returned to incarceration for violating the conditions of supervision. Appendix tables include jurisdiction-level information on number of entries and exits, provide detail on type of entry to parole, and describe the national-level prevalence of offenders on probation or parole by sex, race, Hispanic origin, offense type, and supervision status.


  • The number of adults under community supervision declined by about 40,500 during 2012, down to 4,781,300 offenders at yearend 2012.
  • Both the probation (down 38,300) and parole (down 500) populations declined during 2012.
  • During 2012, an estimated 4.1 million adults moved onto or off probation.
  • Probation entries (2,048,300) declined for the fifth consecutive year, while probation exits (2,089,800) declined for the third consecutive year.
  • Sixty-eight percent of probationers completed their term of supervision or were discharged early during 2012, up from 66% in 2011.
  • The rate of incarceration among probationers at risk for violating their conditions of supervision during 2012 (5.1%) dropped below the rate observed in 2008 (6.0%).
  • The adult parole population at yearend 2012 fell to about 851,200, with nearly 1 million adults moving onto or off parole during the year.
  • Both parole entries (down 9.1%) and exits (down 6.8%) declined between 2011 and 2012.
  • During 2012, the state parole population fell about 0.6%, from an estimated 744,700 to 740,400, while the federal parole population grew 3.5%, from 106,955 to 110,739.
  • Fifty-eight percent of parolees completed their term of supervision or were discharged early in 2012, up from 52% in 2011.
  • The reincarceration rate among parolees at risk for violating their conditions of supervision continued to decline, dropping to 9% during 2012 from about 12% in 2011.

Part of the Probation and Parole Populations Series

Press Release
Full report (PDF 1.6M)
ASCII (ASCII file 51K)
Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 30K)

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Annual Probation Survey and Annual Parole Survey

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