More inmates were added to the nation’s prison and jail populations in the year ending last June 30 than in any year since 1999-2000, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported today. The inmate count increased by 62,037, or 2.8 percent. Most of those behind bars were in state or federal prisons–1,479,179–and one-third were in local jails–766,010–for a total of more than 2.24 million. Because the report is based on data nearly one year old, it’s likely that the inmate population is even higher now.
State prison admissions rose 17.2 percent between 2000 and 2005. During the same period, releases were up at a slower rate, 15.5 percent. New court commitments totaled 421,426 during 2005, a 20.3 percent increase since 2000, and parole violators returned to prison totaled 232,229, up 14.1 percent. Idaho had the largest percentage increase of prisoners in the year ending last June 30, 13.7 percent. Eight states reported declines in prison populations, led by Missouri, down 2.9 percent. The number of federal prisoners increased by 3.6 percent to reach 191,080. At midyear 2006, the federal system had jurisdiction over more prisoners than did any single state. California and Texas had jurisdiction over 175,115 and 172,889 prisoners, respectively.