Facts and Trends

Along with having the Word of Christ, it is helpful to have the data to assist in the advocacy and awareness of Correctional ministries.

Collections of Data for assistance in Correctional Ministries

Prisoners in 2022–Statistical Tables
This report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that at yearend 2022, correctional authorities in the United States had jurisdiction over 1,230,100 persons in state or federal prisons, an increase of 2% or 25,100 persons from yearend 2021 (1,205,100 persons). This rise erased the 1% decline reported in 2021 and marked the first increase in the combined state and federal prison population in almost a decade (since 2013). Ninety-six percent of persons in U.S. prisons in 2022 (1,185,600) were sentenced to more than 1 year.

55 Facts about Mass Incarceration
The Prison Policy Initiative is a research and activist organization focused on issues related to mass incarceration. The list below reports some of the most important statistics about the U.S. criminal legal system. (All data below are the most recent statistics available as of April 2023. Statistics before 2018 are noted.).

Press Release for Recidivism of Females Released from State Prison, 2012-2017
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is announcing the release of Recidivism of Females Released from State Prison, 2012–2017. During the 5 years after their release in 2012, more than half of females (55%, compared to 66% of males) who were serving time for a violent offense were arrested for another offense, while more than a third (38%, compared to 49% of males) had a new conviction for any offense, and about a fourth (27%, compared to 43% of males) were returned to prison.

Capital Punishment 2021 – Statistical Tables
This report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics presents statistics on prisoners who were under sentence of death in 2021, a summary of state and federal death penalty laws in 2021, and historical trends in executions

What do Americans think about the U.S. Prison System?
Recent YouGov polling on this topic found that Americans are fairly split on whether or not the level of incarceration is a problem in the U.S.: 36% say the U.S. incarcerates too many people, 21% say about the right number of people are incarcerated, and 24% say too few people are incarcerated. 

Preliminary Statistics on Incarcerated Populations in 2022
This press release dated September 20, 2023 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics provides summary statistics for local jail populations as well as state and federal prison populations from 2021 to 2022.

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2021The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that an estimated 3,745,000 adults were under community supervision at yearend 2021, a 4% decline from the 3,881,600 who were supervised in the community on January 1, 2021. This decline is attributed to a reduction in both the number of persons on probation, who made up 79% of the community supervision population, and the number on parole. During 2021, the number of persons on probation decreased from 3,032,400 to 2,963,000 (down 2%). The number of persons on parole fell from 864,200 to 803,200 (down 7%) during 2021, the largest annual change in the population in almost 30 years and its lowest point since 2006 (798,200).

Number of Persons in Indian Country Jails Increases for Second Year
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is announcing the release of Jails in Indian Country, 2022. A total of 2,250 persons were held in 80 Indian country jails at midyear 2022, a 3% increase from the 2,180 persons held in 80 facilities at midyear 2021.

Employment Statistics of State and Federal Prisoners Prior to Incarceration, 2016  The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducts face-to-face interviews with a national sample of persons in state and federal prisons to generate statistics on specific topics, including employment prior to incarceration. The most recent Survey of Prison Inmates was fielded in 2016 and is a key source of national data on prisoner characteristics.

Federal Prisoner Statistics Collected Under the First Step Act, 2022
The First Step Act of 2018 (FSA) requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics, through its National Prisoner Statistics program, to collect data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on specific topics and to report these data annually.  The statistics in this report are for calendar year 2021, which represented the third full year of reporting under the FSA, and were collected in 2022.

Jail Inmates in 2021-Statistical Tables
This summary put out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that the number of persons held in local jails in the United States increased 16% from 2020 to 2021. Local jails held 636,300 persons on the last weekday in June 2021, up from 549,100 at midyear 2020. That population had decreased from 2019 to 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prisoners in 2021-Statistical Tables
This summary put out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that the number of persons in prison in the United States decreased 1% from 2020 to 2021. This was the eighth consecutive year that the number of persons in U.S. prisons declined, dropping from 1,221,200 at yearend 2020 to 1,204,300 at yearend 2021. Over the 10-year period from 2011 to 2021, the adult imprisonment rate declined 30%.

Impact of COVID-19 on State and Federal Prisons
This summary put out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals COVID-19 infection rates, COVID-19 related deaths and the effects of COVID-19 on prison population size.

Correctional Population 2002
At yearend 2020, an estimated 5,500,600 persons were under the supervision of adult correctional systems in the United States, 11% fewer than at the same time the previous year (figure 1). This was the first time since 1996 that the total correctional population dropped to less than 5.6 million.  This report by the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics summarizes data on populations supervised by probation or parole agencies and those incarcerated in state or federal prisons or in the custody of local jails.

Mass Incarceration:  The Whole Pie 2022
This report by the Prison Policy Initiative pieces together the data about this country’s disparate systems of confinement. It provides a detailed look at where and why people are locked up in the U.S., and dispels some modern myths to focus attention on the real drivers of mass incarceration and overlooked issues that call for reform.

A Church Without Walls: How Evangelicals are Transforming American Prisons
This essay is adapted from the new book by Dr. Michael Hallett and Dr. Byron Johnson (co-authored with Sung Joon Jang), which describes the rapid spread of peer-based ministry programs in U.S. prisons and is titled The Restorative Prison: Essays on Inmate Peer Ministry and Prosocial Corrections (Routledge 2021).

Census of State & Federal Adult Correctional Facilities
This report by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics provides statistics based on the 2019 Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities.

Probation Parole 2020
This report by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics provides probation and parole statistics for 2020 and comparison of adults on probation and parole between 2005 and 2020.

Federal Justice Statistics, 2019
This report by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics describes cases processed by the federal criminal justice system during 2019.

Few Americans Blame God for Pandemic
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey of 6,485 U.S. adults from Sept. 20 to 26, 2021.  The survey found that Americans largely blame random chance – along with people’s own actions and the way society is structured – for human suffering, while relatively few believers blame God or voice doubts about the existence of God for this reason.

What Makes Life Meaningful?  Views from 17 Advanced Economies
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey of 16,254 adults from March 12 to May 26, 2021, in 16 advanced economies.  Respondents were asked the following open-ended question: “We’re interested in exploring what it means to live a satisfying life. What aspects of your life do you currently find meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying?”

Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)
This report by the National Center for PTSD describes PTSD and outlines different therapies and medications that are proven to help people with PTSD.

Recidivism 10 year Follow-Up Study (2008-2018)
This report by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is the first BJS recidivism study with a 10 year follow-up period.  Among persons released from state prisons in 2008 across 24 states, 82% were arrested at least once during the 10 years following release. The annual arrest percentage among persons released from prison in 2012 declined over time, with 43% arrested at least once in Year 1 of their release, 29% arrested in Year 5, and 22% arrested in Year 10.

Justice Counts Unveils New 50-State Scan of Criminal Justice Data
As part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Justice Counts initiative, researchers from Recidiviz and The Council of State Governments Justice Center conducted a 50-state scan of publicly available, aggregate-level corrections and jails data.

Report on Mass Incarceration Rates State by State  This webpage provided by the Prison Policy Institute (PPI) reveals information current incarceration rates and covid impact on prisons and jails in each state.

Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 34 states in 2012 (5 year follow up report) A special report published by the U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, indicates that among state prisoners released in 2012 across 34 states, 62% were arrested within 3 years, and 71% were arrested within 5 years.

Probation and Parole in the U.S. in 2019 This report by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics presents findings on data collected on adults placed on supervision or removed from supervision during the reporting year.  The data reveals that from 2000-2019 the adult probation rate fell 25% while the adult parole rate remained stable. In 2019, probation exits outpaced entries for the 11th consecutive year.

Capital Punishment, 2019  This report by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics presents statistics on the death penalty. It discusses the number of states that have authorized the death penalty, the methods of execution, and the number and demographics of prisoners who were under sentence of death during 2019. The report also provides data on the number of prisoners executed in 2019 and advance counts of executions in 2020.

The State of the BIBLE, USA 2021–research from the American Bible Society  The 2021 State of the Bible, contains scientific research about America, the church, the Bible. We will discuss how gender, race, faith tradition, relationships, and access to technology influence Americans’ experience with God. The data will paint a picture of how COVID-19 has shattered families, emptied bank accounts, taken jobs,and distanced relationships. That picture is vivid and sometimes challenging, but it is not hopeless.  Millions of Americans face these challenges with hope that they find in the Bible

Mortality in State and Federal Prisons, 2001-2018  This report released in April 2021 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that In 2018, a total of 4,135 state prisoners died in publicly or privately operated prisons, and an additional 378 federal prisoners died in facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).  In state prisons, the number of deaths rose 5% from 2017 (3,943) to 2018 (4,135), the highest level since the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) began collecting information on mortality in state prisons in 2001.

Mortality in Local Jails, 2000-2018  This report released in April 2021 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that in 2018 a total of 1,120 inmates died in local jails, an increase of nearly 2% from the 1,099 deaths reported in 2017 and the highest number of deaths reported in local jails since the BJS began collecting mortality data in 2000.

Time Served in State Prisons, 2018  This report released in March 2021 by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that two-thirds of offenders released from state prison in 2018 served less than 2 years in prison before their initial release.

Disabilities Reported by Prisoners: Survey of Prison Inmates 2016  This report released in March 2021 by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that nearly 2 in 5 (38%) state and federal prisoners had at least one disability in 2016.

Veterans in Prison: Survey of Prison Inmates in 2016  This report released in March 2021 by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that an estimated 107,400 veterans were serving time in state and federal prisons in 2016.

What the data says (and doesn’t say) about crime in the United States This research (released 11/20/20), from the Pew Research Institute, analyzes data from the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).  This research study uses information from these sources to obtain a good picture of U.S. violent and property crime rates and how they have changed over time.

The Sentencing Project Fact Sheet:  Incarcerated Women and Girls  Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women. The female incarcerated population stands over seven times higher than in 1980. More than 60% of women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18.

Global Prison Trends, 2018 Every year, Global Prison Trends by Penal Reform International (in collaboration with the Thailand Institute of Justice) provides us with a global view on the state of prisons.

2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism: A 9-Year Follow-Up Period (2005-2014)

Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2015-2016 (released January, 2019) This report describes the annual activity, workloads, and outcomes of the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment.

NIC Myths & Facts: Why Incarceration Is Not the Best Way to Keep Communities Safe

International Statistics on Crime and Justice

NIC Jail Incarceration Trends

Incarceration Trends

Long-Term Sentences: Time to Reconsider the Scale of Punishment by Marc Mauer
Unduly long prison terms are counterproductive for public safety and contribute to the dynamic of diminishing returns as the prison system has expanded.

Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms The length of time served in prison has increased markedly over the last two decades, according to a new study by Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project. Prisoners released in 2009 served an average of nine additional months in custody, or 36 percent longer, than offenders released in 1990. These extended prison sentences came at a price: prisoners released from incarceration in 2009 cost states $23,300 per offender–or a total of over $10 billion nationwide. More than half of that amount was for non-violent offenders.

5 Facts About the Death Penalty
A Pew Research Center survey showed an uptick in the share of Americans who favor capital punishment for those convicted of murder. Over the long term, however, public support for the death penalty has declined significantly, as has the number of executions in the United States. As the debate over the death penalty continues in the U.S. and worldwide, read about five facts about the issue.

First Step Act 2018
On December 21, 2018, President Trump signed into law the First Step Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-391). The act was the culmination of several years of congressional debate about what Congress might do to reduce the size of the federal prison population while also creating mechanisms to maintain public safety. This report provides an overview of the provisions of the act..

Top Trends in States Criminal Justice Reform
The United States is a world leader in incarceration and keeps nearly 7 million persons under criminal justice supervision. More than 2.2 million are in prison or jail, while 4.6 million are monitored in the community on probation or parole. More punitive sentencing laws and policies, not increases in crime rates, have
produced this high rate of incarceration. Ending mass incarceration will require changing sentencing policies and practices, scaling back the collateral consequences of conviction, and addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In recent years most states have enacted reforms designed to
reduce the scale of incarceration and the impact of the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. This briefing paper describes key reforms undertaken in 2019 prioritized by The Sentencing Project.

Winnable Criminal Justice Reforms
A Prison Policy Initiative briefing on promising state reform issues for 2020