Probation Population Up, Prison Population Down!

%It’s a mixed report as far as whether the criminal justice system in this country is growing or contacting. The number of persons under adult correctional supervision fell by 41,500 persons during 2013, dropping to 6.89 million by yearend, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced. The decline in the correctional population (down 0.6%) was less than 1% for the second consecutive year. By yearend 2013, the number of persons under adult correctional supervision was the smallest number since 2003. About 70% of offenders under adult correctional supervision were supervised in the community on probation (3.91 million) or parole (853,200) at yearend 2013, compared to about 30% incarcerated in state and federal prisons (1.57 million) or local jails (731,200).

The entire drop in the correctional population during 2013 was due to a decline in the number of probationers (down 32,100) and persons held in local jails (down 13,300). The parole population (up 2,100) and prison population (up 4,300) increased, partially offsetting the overall decline in the total correctional population.

While the U.S prison population increased during 2013, the number of inmates under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Prisons decreased (down 0.9% or 1,900) for the first time since 1980. The growth in the U.S. prison population was attributed to the increase in the number of inmates under the jurisdiction of state prisons (up 0.5% or 6,300).

About 1 in 35 adults in the United States (or 2.8% of the adult resident population) was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2013. This rate was unchanged from 2012, when it dropped to the lowest rate observed since 1997. About 1 in 51 adults was on probation or parole at yearend 2013, compared to 1 in 110 incarcerated in prisons or local jails.

In 2013, females accounted for almost 25% of the probation population, up from about 22% in 2000. They made up 14% of the jail population in 2013, up from about 11% in 2000. The percentage of females on parole or incarcerated in state or federal prisons remained unchanged between 2000 and 2013. Since 2010, the female jail population has been the fastest growing correctional population, increasing by an average annual rate of 3.4%.

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