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DOJ Press Release letterhead

Sunday, May 21, 2006
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Stu Smith
Phone: (202) 307-0784
TTY: (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON -- During the year that ended last June 30, the nation's prison and jail population grew 2.6 percent, reaching 2,186,230 inmates behind bars, the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Two thirds were in state or federal prisons (1,438,701) and the other third (747,529) were in local jails.

     The 12-month increase of 56,428 prison and jail inmates was the equivalent of 1,085 new inmates every week, the BJS report said. Other report highlights include:

  • During the period, 10 state systems grew by more than 5 percent, led by Montana (up 7.9 percent), South Dakota (up 7.8 percent), and Minnesota (up 6.7 percent).
  • Three state systems -- Florida (up 2,812 inmates), Texas (up 2,228), and North Carolina (up 1,482) -- accounted for more than 40 percent of the state growth.
  • Twelve state systems reported population decreases, including Vermont (down 2.9 percent), Idaho (down 2.8 percent) and New York (down 2.5 percent).
  • The Federal prison population rose 2.9 percent, reaching 184,484 inmates.

     The Census of Jail Inmates, conducted on June 30 of 2005, recorded a 33,539 inmate increase, the largest 12-month growth since 1997.

     Women make up an increasing proportion of jail inmates, reaching 12.7 percent of the population in 2005, compared to 10.2 percent in 1995.

     At midyear 2005, nearly 6 in 10 offenders in local jails were racial or ethnic minorities, which was nearly unchanged in the last 10 years.

     During the period, slightly more inmates (33,539) than beds (33,398) were added to local jail capacity. At the midyear, jail facilities were operating at 95 percent of rated capacity.

     During the 12-month period, the number of women under the jurisdiction of state and federal prison authorities rose 3.4 percent (from 102,691 to 106,174), while the number of men rose by 1.3 percent (from 1,389,143 to 1,406,649). At midyear 2005, women accounted for 7.0 percent of all prisoners, up from 6.1 percent at yearend 1995.

     Since 1995 the nation's prison and jail population has risen by more than 600,000 inmates. At midyear 2005 one in every 136 U.S. residents were in prison or jail.

     Louisiana and Georgia led the nation in percentage of their state residents incarcerated (with more than 1 percent of their state residents in prison or jail at midyear 2005). Maine and Minnesota had the lowest rates of incarceration (with 0.3 percent or less of their state residents incarcerated).

     At midyear 2005, nearly 4.7 percent of black males were in prison or jail, compared to 1.9 percent of Hispanic males, and 0.7 percent of white males. Among males in their late 20s, nearly 12 percent of black males, compared to 3.9 percent of Hispanic males and 1.7 percent of white males, were incarcerated.

     The report, "Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2005" (NCJ-213133), was written by BJS statisticians Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison. Following publication, the report can be found at:

     Additional information about BJS statistical reports and programs is available from the BJS website at

     The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at