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After Falling During Pandemic, Prison, Jail Numbers Rose Last Year

The number of prisoners across the U.S. increased 2% last year, from 1,205,100 to 1,230,100, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported Wednesday. Some 35 states and the federal prison system reported increases in the number of prisoners who had been sentenced to more than one year.

Although the national prisoner count rose after falling during the COVID-19 pandemic, last year's total was far below the 1,570,397 figure reported for 2012.

The racial composition of prisoners did not change last year. 32% were black, 31% were white, 23% were Hispanic, 10% were multiracial or some other race, 2% were American Indian or Alaska Native and 1%

were Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The black percentage of the U.S. population as a whole is about 14%

Local jails nationwide held 663,100 persons at midyear 2022, 4% more than at the same time the year before (636,100), BJS said in a separate report.

Jails reported 7.3 million admissions from July 2021 to June 2022, 6.6% more than the previous year but 37% fewer than a decade earlier (11.6 million).

At midyear 2022, women comprised 14% of the jail population. The female population (9%) outpaced the male

population in growth (3%) from midyear 2021 to midyear 2022.

About 30% (197,000) of jail inmates last year were convicted, serving a sentence or awaiting sentencing, while

70% (466,100) were unconvicted, awaiting court action on a current charge or being held for other reasons. The proportion was similar in 2021.

The findings are based on the Annual Survey of Jails and National Prisoner Statistics data collections.

BJS said more complete data will be forthcoming in two reports: Jail Inmates in 2022 – Statistical

Tables and Prisoners in 2022 – Statistical Tables.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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