Crime is Down! – US Prison Population Growing?

An April, 2005 article by ABC News concludes, “According to the Justice Policy Institute, which advocates a more lenient system of punishment, the United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country, followed by Britain, China, France, Japan and Nigeria.”

The ABC News report was based on a press release by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS),which stated, “The nation’s prisons and jails held 2,131,180 inmates as of June 30, 2004 …”.

According to the CIA World Fact book, the estimated July, 2005 population of the United states is 295,734,134.   This means that 1 out of every 138 of our citizens is in a jail cell somewhere.   The BJS press release put it another way, “On June 30, 2004, there were an estimated 726 persons per 100,000 U.S. residents in prison or jail.”

The BJS press release also stated:

  • “Between June 30, 2003 and June 30, 2004, the number of female prisoners increased 2.9 percent to reach 103,310.   At the same time, male prisoners increased 2 percent to reach 1,390,906.”
  • ”Eight jurisdictions experienced double-digit growth in the year ending midyear 2004, led by Clark County, Nevada; Fulton County, Georgia; and Orange County, California — all up 20 percent.”
  • “The number of noncitizens held in state or federal prisons increased 1.4 percent in the year ending June 30, 2004, reaching 91,789.   Almost two-thirds of incarcerated noncitizens were held by the federal system.”
  • “At midyear 2004, jails were operating at 94 percent of capacity.”

For more detail refer to “Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2004” (NCJ-208801).   Here are some snapshots from that report:

Federal system has grown at a much higher rate than the States

Overall, 6.5% of State and Federal inmates at midyear 2004 were not U.S. citizens.

How much would the Federal numbers change if they included all the terrorists from both known and secret prisons.



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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

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