The number of Americans in prison, jail, on probation, or parole grew by 130,700 last year to reach a new high of nearly 6.9 million, says the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The bureau says that amounts to one in every 32 U.S. adults. Kentucky had the largest percentage increase in probation and parole, 17.2 percent. Washington State has the highest number under probation/parole supervision; New Hampshire the lowest.
The growth in numbers under correctional control likely is due to the continued effect of tougher sentencing laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s. BJS said there were 691,301 people in local and county jails and 1,387,269 in state and federal prisons last year, for a total of 2,078,570. At the same time, there were 4,073,987 on probation at the end of last year, an increase of 1.2 percent from the end of 2002, and 774,588 on parole, up 3.1 percent.