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Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 1999

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EDT                  BJS                 
WEDNESDAY,  APRIL 19, 2000                   202/307-0784                            


     WASHINGTON, D.C.   The nation's prisons and jails held
1,860,520 inmates at midyear 1999, the Justice Department's
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.  That
was an increase of  58,333 from a year earlier, or 1,122
more inmates each week.

          From year-end 1990 to mid-1999 the prison and
jail population grew by almost 712,000 inmates, resulting in
the incarceration rate increasing from 1 in every 218 U.S.
resident to 1 in every 147.  If the current growth
continues, BJS noted, the future jail and prison population
may reach 2 million around the end of 2001.

     On June 30, 1999, state prisons held 1,136,582 inmates
and federal prisons held 117,995.  The number of state
prisoners since 12 months earlier increased from the
previous year by 3.1 percent, about half the average annual
increase of 6.1 percent experienced since 1990.  The 
federal prison population rose by 9.9 percent (up 10,614
prisoners,  the largest 12-month gain ever reported).

     Local jails held 605,943 men and women up from 592,462
at midyear 1998.  Based on the recently completed national
Census of Jails, the jail growth during the 12-month period
(2.3 percent) was significantly lower than the average annual
growth of 4.6 percent since 1990. 

     Louisiana led the nation with 1,025 prison and jail
inmates per 100,000 state residents followed by Texas
(1,014) and Georgia (956).  Five states had incarceration
rates below 300--Vermont (203), Maine (220), Minnesota
(226), North Dakota (239) and Hawaii (291).

     In the year ending June 30, 1999, the largest prison
population increases were in Vermont (up 14.9 percent),
Wyoming (14.7 percent) and Delaware (14.3 percent). 
Nine states reported decreases, including Rhode Island (down
11.2 percent), Ohio (minus 4.5 percent), Hawaii (minus 3.1
percent) and North Carolina (down 3.0 percent).

     As of last June 30, 11 percent of black males, 4
percent of Hispanic males and 1.5 percent of white males in
their twenties and early thirties were in prison or jail,
according to BJS estimates.  Among the almost 1.9 million
incarcerated offenders, more than 560,000 were black males
between 20 and 39 years old.  Overall, black men and women
were at least 7 times more likely than whites and 2« times
more likely than Hispanics to have been in prison or jail on
June 30, 1999. 
     At midyear 1999, women represented 6.5 percent of all
state and federal prisoners (up from 5.7 percent in 1990)
and 11.2  percent of local jail inmates (up from 9.2 in 1990).
An estimated 149,200 women were behind bars on
June 30, 1999--81,100 in prison and 68,100 in local jails.
There were 106 incarcerated females per 100,000 women in
the United States,  compared to 1,261 incarcerated men for
every 100,000 male residents.

     Local jail authorities held or supervised 687,973
offenders on June 30, 1999.  Twelve percent of these
offenders (82,030) were supervised in alternative programs
and not confined, such as in community service programs
(20,139), weekend reporting (16,089), or electronic
monitoring (10,230).

     At midyear1999 local jails nationwide were operating
at 7 percent below their rated capacity. During the 12-month
period ending June 30, jails added more than 39,500 beds,
outpacing the increase in inmates (up 13,481).  As of
December 31, 1998 (the latest data available) state prison
were operating at 13 to 22 percent over capacity, while
federal prisons were 27 percent over capacity. 

     Forty-seven of the nation's 3,365 local jails were
privately owned or operated in 17 states, and as of June 30, 1999, 
they held 13,814 inmates (or 2.3 percent of all jail inmates).

     The bulletin "Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 1999"
NCJ-181643, was written by BJS statistician Allen J. Beck. 
Single copies may be obtained from the BJS fax-on-demand
system by dialing 301/519-5550, listening to the complete menu 
and selecting document number 197.  Or call the BJS clearinghouse 
number: 1-800-732-3277.  Fax orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358.  
The BJS Internet site is:

     Additional criminal justice materials can be obtained
from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at:

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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354
Date Published: April 19, 2000