The number of prisoners in the United States continues to fall

According to the latest report published in August 2020 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the correctional population in the United States declined by 12.3% between 2008 and 2018.

During 2018, 6,410,000 adults were held under a correctional regime in the United States. This correctional population peaked at 7,339,600 in 2007 and declined every year until 2018. Between 2017 and 2018, the correctional population declined by 2.1%.

By the end of 2018, about 1 in 40 adult US residents were under correctional supervision, down from 1 in 32 a decade earlier.

Between 2008 and 2018, the imprisonment rate dropped 28% among black residents, 21% among Hispanic residents, and 13% among white residents. Notably, in 2018, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest since 1989.

According to the data in the report, in 2018, 2,510 out of every 100,000 adult US residents were under the supervision of the North American correctional system. This marked a 26-year low in the adult correctional-supervision rate. For example, in 2008, 3,160 adults per 100,000 US residents were under supervision.

Also notable is the fact that, in 2008, there were 2,200 adults per 100,000 US residents under community supervision. By 2018, this figure had reduced to 1,730. With regard to the prison population, while in 2008 there were 1,000 adults in prison or local jails per 100,000 US residents, ten years later this figure had fallen to 830.

The adult correctional-supervision population fell from 4,508,900 in 2017 to 4,399,000 in 2018. The incarcerated population also decreased from 2,153,600 in 2017 to 2,123,100 in 2018.

In 2018, there were a total of 6,410,000 persons under correctional supervision in the United States. In 2008, that figure was 7,312,600. According to the latest statistics, in 2018 there were 4,399,000 adults under supervision in the community, 1,465,200 in prison and 738,400 in local jails.

Given the differences in data, in 2018, the authorities supervised 902,700 fewer adults than in 2008; 731,300 under community supervision and 143,100 in prison. The remaining cases are accounted for the reduced number of adults held in local jails.


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