A Detailed Look At Where People Are Behind Bars Around The U.S.


The Prison Policy Initiative published a new analysis of the “disparate systems of confinement” in the U.S., saying that more than 2.3 million people are being held in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,259 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails, and 79 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories.

The organization says its snapshot of the corrections system does not capture the “enormous churn in and out of our correctional facilities and therefore the many more lives that are affected by the criminal justice system.” In addition to the 636,000 people released from prisons each year, about 12 million cycle through local jails annually (according to a new U.S. Justice Department report.) Jail churn is particularly high because at any given moment a majority of the people in local jails have not been convicted and are in jail because they are either too poor to afford bail and are being held pretrial. About 200,000 jail inmates are serving time for minor offenses, but 99 percent of the jail growth in the 15 years was in the detention of the legally innocent, Prison Policy Initiative says.

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