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Probation and Parole in the United States, 2000

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2001 202/307-0784
Revised 8/28/01


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The nation's combined federal, state and local adult correctional population reached a new high of almost 6.5 million men and women in 2000, having grown by 126,400 men and women during the year, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today. The total represented 3.1 percent of the country's total adult population, or 1 in every 32 adults.

The total adult correctional population includes incarcerated inmates as well as probationers and parolees living in the community. On December 31, 2000, there were 3,839,532 men and women on probation, 725,527 on parole, 1,312,354 in prison and 621,149 in local jails. The 2 percent increase last year was half the average annual increase of 4 percent since 1990.

During the past decade the total correctional population increased 49 percent. There were 2.1 million more men and women under correctional supervision in 2000 than in 1990.

The states with the largest percentages of their adult populations under correctional supervision were Georgia (6.8 percent), Texas (5.0 percent) and Idaho (4.9 percent). The states with the smallest percentages of their populations under supervision were West Virginia, New Hampshire and North Dakota (0.9 percent).

Almost a third of all people under correctional supervision were in a prison or a jail. More than half of the correctional populations in Mississippi (58 percent), Virginia (56 percent) and the federal system (56 percent) were incarcerated. Minnesota (9 percent) and Vermont (11 percent) had the lowest percentage incarcerated.

At the end of last year the number of adults under community supervision as probationers or parolees reached almost 4.6 million, up from 3.2 million on December 31, 1990. Among probationers -- criminal offenders sentenced to a period of correctional supervision in the community -- 52 percent had been convicted of a felony, 46 percent a misdemeanor and 2 percent other infractions. Twenty-four percent were on probation for a drug law violation and 18 percent for driving while intoxicated.

Sixteen states reported fewer than 1 percent of their adult populations on probation. Three states had increases of at least 10 percent in their probation populations during 2000 -- Mississippi (up 13 percent), South Dakota (up 11 percent) and Oklahoma (up 10 percent). Nine states and the District of Columbia reported a decline in their probation populations, led by South Carolina (down 12 percent), Missouri (down 5 percent) and Kansas (down 5 percent).

Almost all adults on parole, a period of conditional supervision following a prison term, had been convicted of a felony (97 percent). More than half of people entering parole during 2000 had received a mandatory release from prison because of a sentencing statute or good-time provisions; 37 percent entered parole because of a parole board decision, down from 59 percent in 1990.

Parole population gains of 10 percent or more were reported in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Connecticut and Arkansas led with a 22 percent increase in their parole populations in 2000, followed by Vermont and Oklahoma (both up 20 percent). Nineteen states reported a decline in their parole population during 2000, led by Kansas (down 35 percent) and North Dakota and North Carolina (both down 24 percent).

Nationwide, women comprised 22 percent of adult probationers in 2000, up from 18 percent in 1990, and 12 percent of all parolees, up from 8 percent in 1990.

At the end of 2000, more than a third of probationers and more than 2 out of 5 adults on parole were black, while nearly two-thirds of probationers and more than half of parolees were white. Persons of other races accounted for about 2 percent of probationers and 1 percent of parolees.

Persons of Hispanic origin, who are of any race, comprised 16 percent of the probation population and 21 percent of the parole population.

Nearly 2 million probationers and 459,000 parolees were discharged from community supervision in 2000. Three out of five of those exiting probation and over two out of five of those exiting parole had successfully met the conditions of their supervision. During the same year, 15 percent of probationers and 42 percent of parolees who were discharged from supervision were reincarcerated because of a rule violation or new offense.

The data for the state, federal and local incarceration rates was analyzed by BJS statistician Lauren E. Glaze.

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

Date Published: August 26, 2001