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Prisoners in 2000

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12, 2001 202/307-0784


WASHINGTON, D.C. - During the last six months of 2000, the nation's state prison population declined by more than 6,200 inmates - the first measured decline since 1972, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.

Although for the entire year the state and federal prison population grew by 1.3 percent, 13 states experienced decreases, led by Massachusetts (down 5.6 percent), New Jersey (down 5.4 percent), New York (down 3.7 percent) and Texas (down 3.2 percent).

Five states-Idaho (up 14.1 percent), North Dakota (up 14.1 percent), Mississippi (up 10.9 percent), Vermont (up 10.5 percent) and Iowa (up 10.0 percent) - had increases of at least 10 percent during 2000.

During 2000, the federal prison system added 10,170 inmates - the equivalent of almost 200 additional inmates each week. Since 1990 the number of federal prisoners has more than doubled (up 122 percent), while the number of state inmates had increased 75 percent. Overall, the nation's prison population increased by 18,191 inmates during the year, which was the smallest annual increase in 20 years.

California (163,001 inmates), Texas (157,997) and the federal system (145,416) together held one-third of all prisoners in the country.

At the end of 2000, privately operated facilities housed 87,369 inmates (5.8 percent of state inmates and 10.7 percent of federal inmates). Local jails housed 63,140 state and federal prisoners (4.6 percent of state and federal prisoners).

Altogether, there were 2,071,686 incarcerated people in this country at the end of 2000, as follows:

State and federal prisons   1,312,354 *
Local jails   621,149  
Juvenile facilities (as of October 1999)   108,965  
Territorial prisons   16,130  
Immigration and Naturalization Service facilities   8,894  
Military facilities   2,420  
Indian country jails   1,775  
*Number excludes state and federal prisoners in local jails.

At the end of 2000, 9.7 percent of all black males between 25 and 29 years old were in prison, compared to 2.9 percent of all Hispanic males and 1.1 percent of all white males in the same age group.

There were 91,612 women in state and federal prisons at the end of last year - 6.6 percent of all prison inmates. Since 1990 the number of male prisoners has grown 77 percent, while the number of female prisoners has increased by 108 percent.

At the end of 2000 about 1 in every 109 men and 1 in every 1,695 women in the United States were incarcerated in a state or federal prison. Louisiana had the highest prison incarceration rate (801 inmates per 100,000 state residents, followed by Texas (730), Mississippi (688) and Oklahoma (685). Minnesota (with 128 inmates per 100,000 residents) and Maine (129) had the lowest rates.

On December 31, 2000, state prisons were operating between full capacity and 15 percent above capacity. Federal prisons were operating 31 percent above capacity. The Florida prison system, which was operating at 81 percent of its rated capacity, reported the lowest percentage of occupied capacity. California, operating at 94 percent over its designed capacity, had the highest percentage occupied.

At midyear 2000, there were 1,320 state adult facilities, 84 federal facilities and 264 privately operated facilities holding prisoners. During the decade between June 30, 1990, and June 30, 2000, states added 351 correctional facilities and more than 528,000 prison beds (up 81 percent).

The report was written by BJS statisticians Allen J. Beck and Paige Harrison. Single copies may be obtained from the BJS clearinghouse number: 1-800-851-3420. Fax orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358.

After the release date this report will be available at:


The BJS Internet site is:


Additional criminal justice materials can be obtained from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354

Date Published: August 12, 2001