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May 2004
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Nation’s Prison Population Increase Largest in Four Years

The Bureau of Justice Statistics will be releasing a report this afternoon regarding prison population in the U.S. from June 2002-June 2003 (the most recent period studied).
Some “highlights:”

  • The nation’s prisons and jails held 2,078,570 men and women on June 30, 2003, an increase of 57,600 more inmates than state, local and federal officials held on the same date a year earlier
  • From July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003, the number of state and federal prisoners grew by more than 2.9 percent, the largest increase in four years. The federal system increased by 5.4 percent, and state prisoners increased by 2.6 percent.
  • An estimated 12 percent of all black males in their twenties were in jails or prisons last June 30, as were an estimated 3.7 percent of Hispanic males and 1.6 percent of white males in that age group. Sixty-eight percent of prison and jail inmates were members of racial or ethnic minority groups.
  • The 50 largest jail systems housed a third of all jail inmates. Nineteen of these operated at or above their rated capacities.
  • Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate (number of prisoners with a sentence of more than 1 year per 100,000 residents) at 803, followed by Texas (692), Mississippi (688), Oklahoma (645) and Alabama (612). Maine has the lowest with 148, followed by Minnesota (150), North Dakota (175), Rhode Island (187), and New Hampshire (193). [Local readers: Illinois is at 341.]
[Thanks to jackl]

Update: The full report is now available on the BJS site.

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