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SUNDAY, AUGUST 3, 1996202/633-3047


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To keep up with the nation's growing prison population, state and federal governments added 213 prisons and more than 280,000 prison beds, between 1990 and 1995. The Justice Department reported today that at mid-year 1995 there were 1,500 state and federal prisons with the capacity of 976,000 beds--up 41 percent in 5 years. The figures were included in "Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 1995," prepared by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

At the time of the census, about 1 million persons were held in state and federal prisons in the United States. The number incarcerated had grown 43 percent since 1990, the last time the census was conducted.

In 1995, state prisons operated on average at 4 percent above rated capacity and federal prisons at 25 percent above capacity. The 1995 census reports that about 1 in 4 state correctional facilities were under court order or consent decree to limit population or to address specific conditions of confinement. However, the actual number of facilities ordered by the court to limit population decreased from 183 in 1990 to 174 in 1995.

Between 1990 and 1995, the number of employees working in state and federal correctional facilities grew 31 percent to 347,320. Correctional officers accounted for 64 percent of all prison staff, while professional, technical and educational employees comprised 16 percent.

The remaining 20 percent were clerical, maintenance or food service employees. About a third of correctional facility employees were female, and a quarter were African American or Hispanic.

As a result of new construction, the percentage of correctional facilities less than 20 years old rose from 37 percent in 1990 to over 50 percent in 1995. Nearly 40 percent of all prisoners in 1995 were held in facilities built since 1985.

In 1995, correctional authorities recorded more than 14,000 assaults on prison staff, up 32 percent from 1990, and nearly 26,000 assaults on inmates, up 20 percent from 1990. Relative to the number of inmates, however, the annual number of assaults on other inmates dropped from 31 per 1,000 inmates in 1990 to 27 per 1,000 in 1995, and the number of assaults on staff remained unchanged at 15 assaults per 1,000 inmates.

In 1995, over 94 percent of all prisons operated inmate work programs. About 63 percent of all state inmates and 90 percent of all federal inmates participated in some type of work program. Eighty percent of all prisons offered GED or other secondary educational programs. Nearly a quarter of all prisoners were enrolled in some type of educational program. About 70 percent of all correctional facilities offered psychological or psychiatric counseling to inmates.

About 4 percent of state inmates and 21 percent of federal inmates were known to be citizens of other countries. Between 1990 and 1995 the number of non-U.S. citizens held in state and federal prisons doubled from 25,250 to 51,500.

About half of 1 percent of all state and federal inmates in 1995 were under the age of 18, unchanged from 1990. At mid-1995 state prisons held 5,309 persons under age 18. Federal prisons do not house individuals under 18, however, 64 offenders under 18 years of age were held in other facilities under contract with the federal system.

Two percent of all state and federal inmates are housed in facilities operated by private contractors. Eighty-one community-based facilities and 29 confinement facilities included in the census were privately operated.

The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) conducts the census every five years. The 1995 census included 1,196 confinement institutions and 304 community-based facilities. Confinement facilities are prisons, prison hospitals, bootcamps, and other facilities where inmates are not permitted to leave. Community-based facilities, such as halfway houses and pre-release centers, house inmates who are near completion of their sentences and who may leave during the day for work or education. The census excluded approximately 3,300 locally operated jails and county or municipal detention centers. BJS also conducts a count of the nation's prisoners. The results of these surveys are reported at the beginning and middle of each year.

The report, "Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 1995" (NCJ-164266) may be obtained by calling the BJS Clearinghouse at 1-800/732-3277. For additional information on BJS, visit its homepage at:

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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354