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Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2013
13 pages
Publication Series
This report presents statistics on the total population supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States in 2012, based on data summarized from several Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) correctional data collections.

Summarizes data from various correctional collections to provide statistics on the number of offenders supervised by the adult correctional systems in the United States. Adult correctional systems include offenders supervised in the community under the authority of probation or parole agencies and inmates held in state and federal prisons or local jails. The report examines the size and change in the total correctional population, the impact of changes in the community supervision and incarcerated populations during 2012, and the declining rate of offenders under correctional supervision over the past 5 years. The report also describes the impact of the California Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 on changes in California's correctional populations and its broader impact on the U.S. correctional populations. Appendix tables provide additional information on other correctional populations, including prisoners under military jurisdiction, inmates held by correctional authorities in the U.S. territories and commonwealths, and jail inmates held in Indian country facilities.

  • About 6,937,600 offenders were under the supervision of adult correctional systems at yearend 2012, declining by about 51,000 offenders during the year.
  • The decrease during 2012 was the fourth consecutive year of decline in the U.S. correctional population.
  • Although the correctional population declined by 0.7% during 2012, this was the slowest rate of decline observed since 2009, when the population first decreased.
  • In 2012, about 1 in every 35 adults in the United States, or 2.9% of adult residents, was on probation or parole or incarcerated in prison or jail, the same rate observed in 1997.
  • An estimated 1 in every 50 adult residents was supervised in the community on probation or parole at yearend 2012, compared to 1 in every 108 adults incarcerated in prison or jail.

Date Published: December 1, 2013