About one in every 31 adults in the U.S. was in prison, in jail, or on supervised release at the end of last year, the Department of Justice reports. An estimated 2.38 million people were behind bars in state and federal facilities, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2005. A record 5 million people were on parole or probation, an increase of 1.8 percent. Immigration detention facilities had the greatest growth rate last year. The number of people in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities grew 43 percent, to 14,482 from 10,104.
The New York Times says that the data reflect continued deep racial disparities in correctional institutions, with a record 905,600 African-American inmates in prisons and state and local jails. In several states, incarceration rates for blacks were more than 10 times the rate of whites. In Iowa, for example, blacks were imprisoned at 13.6 times the rate of whites, according to an analysis by the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group. Nationally the percentage of black men in state and federal prison populations in 2006 fell to 38 percent, from 43 percent in 2000. The rates declined for black women, while rates for white women increased.