About 5,500,600 persons were under the supervision of adult correctional systems in the U.S. at the end of 2020, 11 percent fewer than at the same time the previous year, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics says in a new report. It was the first time since 1996 that the total correctional population dropped to less than 5.6 million. About 1 in 47 adult residents were under some form of correctional supervision at the end of 2020, a decrease from 1 in 40 at the end of 2019, About seven7 in 10 persons under correctional supervision were supervised in the community (3,890,400) at yearend 2020, while three in 10 (1,691,600) were incarcerated in a state or federal prison or local jail.
The decline in the correctional population was due to decreases in both the community supervision population (down 276,700 or 6.6 percent) and the incarcerated population (down 294,400 or 18.9 percent). From 2010 to 2020, the correctional population decreased 22.4 percent. From 2010 to 2020, the decrease in the probation population accounted for 63.1 percent of the total decline in the correctional population. Among those under community supervision at yearend 2020, the majority were on probation (3,053,700), while a smaller portion were on parole (862,100). During the past decade, the parole population was the only segment of the correctional population to increase, growing from 11.9 percent of those under correctional supervision in 2010 to 15.7 percent in 2020. The incarceration rate dropped each year during the last decade.