For the first time in three decades, the number of adults under correctional supervision in the U.S.–prisons, probation, and parole dropped last year, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. The decline in 2009 was under one percent, as the total fell to 7,225,800, 48,800 fewer offenders than at year end 2008. One in 32 adults, or about 3.1 percent of residents, was under correctional supervision at the end of last year.
Decreases in the probation population (down by 40,079 offenders) and the parole population (down by 5,526 offenders) were the first observed decreases since BJS began annual data collections on those populations in 1980. At year end 2009, 4,203,967 adults were on probation, and 819,308 were under parole or other post-custody supervision. Last year, During 2009, entries to probation declined by 2.4 percent, and entries to parole declined by 1.2 percent. Among incarcerated offenders, the number of jail inmates totaled 760,400 at mid year 2009 (down 2.2 percent from 2008). The number of federal and state prisoners increased by 0.2 percent (3,981 prisoners) during 2009 to reach 1,613,740. The growth in the prison population during 2009 was the slowest annual increase in the current decade and marked the third consecutive year of declining growth. While the federal prison population increased by 3.4 percent (up 6,838 prisoners), the state prison population had the first measured decline (down 0.2 percent or 2,857 prisoners) since 1977.