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Prison and Jail Inmates, 1995


SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 1996            202/633-3047

         Almost 1.6 milllion men and women
        in the Nation's Prisons and Jails

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- There were almost 1.6 million
men and women in the nation's jails and prisons
last year, an increase of 66,843 in state prisons
and 5,216 in federal prisons from 1994, the
Department of Justice announced today.  
     The increase of 6.8 percent in the combined
prison population was slightly lower than the
average annual growth (8.4 percent) recorded since
1985.  During the 12 months preceding June 30,
1995, the jail population grew 4.2 percent--less
than the 7 percent average annual increase from
1985 through 1995.
     Since 1985, the total number of inmates in
state and federal prisons and local jails has
increased by 113 percent.
     State and federal prisons, which primarily
house convicted felons serving sentences of more
than a year, held about two-thirds of the
incarcerated population (1,078,357 inmates) at the
end of 1995.  The other third was confined in
locally operated jails, which normally hold people
awaiting trial or serving sentences of a year or
     On June 30, 1995, the most recent date for
which jail data are available, 507,044 people were
in local jails and another 34,869 were under jail
supervision in such programs as electronic
monitoring, house detention, community service or
alternative work programs. 
     These data are from an annual bulletin
published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics
(BJS), a Department agency.  Bulletin highlights

Bed Space Needs

     The increasing inmate population has required
federal, state and local corrections officials to
find bed space for 841,200 additional people since
1985, or more than 1,618 new beds every week.  In
1995 state prison systems reported operating
between 14 percent and 25 percent above capacity. 
The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported operating
26 percent over capacity.  
     Local jails reported operating at 7 percent
below their rated capacity.  As a consequence of
adding bed space for more than 41,000 additional
inmates in the year ending June 30, 1995, 
which was an 8 percent increase, local jails
recorded the lowest occupancy rates in 10 years.

Per Capita Growth

     Since 1985 the nation's prison and jail
population has nearly doubled on a per capita
basis.  At the end of 1995, there were 600 inmates
per 100,000 United States residents--up from 313
inmates per 100,000 in 1985.  On December 31,
1995, one in every 167 U.S. residents was

State Rankings

     In 1995, a third of the nation's state
prisoners were in California (135,646), Texas
(127,766) and New York (68,484).  Seventeen
states, each with fewer than 5,000 prisoners,
together held 4 percent of all state prison
inmates.  In 1995, Texas also led the nation with
653 prisoners with sentences of more than a year
per 100,000 state residents, followed by Louisiana
(568 per 100,000), Oklahoma (552) and South
Carolina (515).  The states with the lowest prison
incarceration rates were North Dakota (85 per
100,000 state residents), Minnesota (105), and
Maine (111).

Women and Juveniles

     Women accounted for 6.1 percent all state and
federal inmates and 10.2 percent of those in local
jails.  There were 63,998 women held in state or
federal prisons at the end of 1995, and 52,452 in
local jails at midyear.                          
     An estimated 7,888 youths under 18 years old
were being held in local jails last year--a 17
percent increase over the year before.  More than
three-quarters of these juveniles had been tried
or were awaiting trial as adults.
     Single copies of the BJS bulletin, "Prison
and Jail Inmates, 1995" (NCJ-161132), by BJS
statisticians Darrell K. Gilliard and Allen J.
Beck may be obtained from the BJS fax-on-demand
system by dialing 301/251-5550 or calling the BJS
Clearinghouse number 1-800/732-3277.  Fax orders
to 410/792-4358.  BJS's home page address on the
Internet is:             


After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354
Date Published: August 18, 1996