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Probation and Parole in the United States, 1998

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EDT                           BJS
SUNDAY,  AUGUST 22, 1999                                        202/307-0784 

     WASHINGTON, D.C.   The combined federal, state and local
adult correctional population grew by 163,800 men and women during
1998 to reach a new high of 5.9 million people, the Justice
Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. 
This includes incarcerated inmates and probationers and parolees in
the community, BJS said.  Almost 3 percent of the nation's adult
population, or about 1 in every 34 adults, were incarcerated or on
probation or on parole at the end of last year.
     As of December 31, 1998, adults under community supervision
surpassed 4 million for the first time, to a record 4.1 million, up from
3.2 million on December 31, 1990.  At the end of 1998, 3,417,613
adult men and women were on probation, 704,964 were on parole,
1,232,900 were in prisons, and 584,372 were in local jails.  From 1990
through 1998 the percentage of the total correctional population under
community supervision declined from 74 percent to 69 percent.
     Among the probationers, criminal offenders sentenced to a
period of correctional supervision in the community, 57 percent had
been convicted of a felony, 40 percent of a  misdemeanor and 3 percent
of other infractions.  Twenty-four percent were on probation for a drug
law violation and 17 percent for driving while intoxicated.
       Nearly all adults on parole, a period of conditional supervision
following a prison term,   had been convicted of a felony (96 percent). 
More than half of people entering parole during 1998 were released
from prison because of a requirement to do so under a sentencing
statute.  In 1998, 41 percent of those entering parole had been released
by a parole board, down from 59 percent in 1990.
     More than 100,000 people were under community supervision
in the federal system in 1998.  Almost 1 million of the nation's federal,
state and local probationers and parolees, about one in four of the 
total, were in Texas (555,780) and California (435,044).   Texas led
the nation with the largest percentage of its adult population under
community supervision (3.9 percent), followed by Delaware and
Washington, each with 3.6 percent. 
     Twelve states reported fewer than 1 percent of their adult
populations on parole or probation.  West Virginia had the lowest rate
of people under correctional supervision in the community (521 per
100,000 adults), followed by Kentucky (590), and North Dakota (596).
     Vermont and Idaho each reported a 21 percent increase in their
probation population for the year ending December 31, 1998.  Other
states with an increase of at least 10 percent included Arkansas (up 19
percent), New Mexico (up 17 percent), Arizona (up 17 percent),
Alabama (up 14 percent), Pennsylvania (up 12 percent), and Illinois
(up 10 percent).  Eleven states reported a decline in their probation
populations, led by Louisiana and South Dakota, each down 7 percent.
     Large parole population gains were reported by many states for
1998.  Ohio led with a 66 percent increase in parole in 1998, followed
by Idaho (55 percent) and North Dakota (51 percent).  Four states
reported parole declines of 20 percent or more: Virginia (down 37
percent),  North Carolina (down 30 percent), Washington (down 22
percent), and Oklahoma (down 21 percent). The parole and supervised
release populations in the federal system rose by 5 percent.
     Nationwide,  women constituted a larger percentage of the
probation and parole populations in 1998 than they did in 1990. 
Women comprised 21 percent of adult probationers in 1998 (up from
18 percent in 1990) and 12 percent of those on parole ( up from 8
     At the end of 1998, more than a third of probationers
(1,179,400) and more than 2 out of 5 adults on parole (311,300) were
black, while two-thirds of probationers (2,186,600) and half of
parolees (384,700) were white.  Hispanics, who may be of any race,
comprised 15 percent of probationers (515,000), and 21 percent of
parolees (144,900).
     Over 1.5 million probationers and more than 420,000 parolees
were discharged from community supervision in 1998.  Among those
discharged from probation 59 percent successfully completed their
supervision, down from 69 percent in 1990. Among discharged
parolees in 1998, 45 percent successfully completed their supervision,
compared to 50 percent in 1990.  During 1998, 17 percent of
probationers and 42 percent of parolees were reincarcerated because of
a rule violation or new offense.  An estimated 3 percent of discharged
probationers and 9 percent of parolees had absconded.  
     The bulletin, "Probation and Parole in the United States, 1998"
(NCJ-178234) was written by BJS statistician Thomas P. Bonczar and
BJS statistical assistant Lauren E. Glaze.  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
168.  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:
                     # # # 
After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354
Date Published: August 22, 1999