Imprisonment: US Jail Population Declines for the First Time in Decades

The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported this week that the number of people held in US jails declined last year for the first time since 1982. The report did not address US prison populations. Nor did the report provide numbers on the offenses for which people were jailed. In both the prison and the jail populations, drug offenders are thought to comprise 20% to 25% of the population.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/jailpopulation.jpg
signs of hope
According to the report, Jail Inmates at Midyear 2009 -- Statistical Tables, the US jail population on June 30, 2009 was 767,620, down 2.3% from the previous year. The rate of jail population increase had been slowing since 2005, but last year was the first year jail population growth rates went negative.

Most of the decline occurred in large, big city jails. Two-thirds of the 171 large jails (more than 1,000 inmates) reported declines, while seven large jails reported a drop of more than 500 inmates, accounting for 29% of the nationwide decline. Declines in two Florida jails alone, Miami-Dade (down 1.090) and Orange County (down 944), accounted for more than 10% of the nationwide decline.

At mid-year 2009, about 60% of jail inmates were not yet convicted of any offense, but were awaiting trial. The remainder were either serving jail sentences or awaiting transfers to begin serving prison sentences. About 12.8 million people were admitted to local jails in the year ending June 30, 2009.

Whites represented 42.5% of all jail inmates; blacks represented 39.2%; and Hispanics, 16.2%. Those numbers are nearly unchanged from 2000.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

simple explanation...

CRIME is NOT down. The only reason the prison/jail rate is declining is because municipalities, and states simply CANNOT AFFORD to house and feed them anymore. I know here in the State of South Carolina, our Governor just introduced a bill that would free many nonviolent prisoners. It is that, or build another prison at the cost of 37 million.
Bill in SC

simple explenation

You're actally wrong. Crime is down in the U.S. Newark, NJ had its first murder-free month in many years just this year. Please get your facts straight.

And?

Is it .. as goes Newark, so goes the country?! There is a difference between crime rate and the prison population, just for starters. But, there has been a suggestion that we can't afford to lock up so many people, anymore. We have become the incarceration nation! And, we can not afford it!

You may have a fact,right. But one, extraneous, fact does not an argument make!

Our store sells everything

Our store sells everything from a weekend supply to a 12 month supply so you can get a proven product at a price you can afford, for as long as you need. sparxx rx

damn straight

State and federal govt should not be putting non-violent offenders in jail anyway. Prisons are not the answer. Its time we stop warehousing poor people of color.

Dan in Texas

Dear Dan...

Amen to that! NO person of ANY color should be jailed without good cause. that includes person that are pink and hues of White...

What To Do...?

What are we going to do with all the unemployed prison staff? We could print some more stimulus money.

I KNOW! Let's hold a Telethon...

I agree that it's the lack

I agree that it's the lack of money causing the decline.
Acts that do not harm or endanger people nor their property should not be illegal! If we are adults and you have a substance that I want to buy to alter my mood or mind with, I do it in the privacy of my own home, never leaving or bothering anyone while under the influence of it, how am I a criminal? What did I do that makes me dangerous to society worthy of incarceration? Consentual "Crimes" should not exist.

There's nothing tough on crime about the drug war

Dangerous criminals should not be let out of prison early, because we can't afford to keep them there, because we are wasting a ton of money making 2 million drug arrests a year!

Are You The Cop That Keeps Commenting?

Are you suggesting ALL prisoners, including those that possess a joint, are DANGEROUS?????

This is about cash strapped municipalities

The meat grinder known as American justice runs on massive piles of money. When that money starts waning, the grinder slows down. Plain and simple.

WHAT YOU HAVE IS SOMETHING

WHAT YOU HAVE IS SOMETHING EQUAL TOO OR GREAT THAN WW2 and WW3 COMBINED

WAR ON DRUGS
3 STRIKES LAW
CORRUPT JUDGES AND FEDERAL/LOCAL COURT SYSTEMS

CALL IT WW3 BUT HERE ON OUR OWN TURF!!

YOU HAVE 2 MILLION PLUS IN JAIL AND 2/3 ARE FOR NON VIOLENT CRIMES!

PEOPLE NEED TO WAKE UP!!!!!!!

ITS KILLING THE USA!!!! LOOK AT THE ECONOMY!!!!

Get With the Real Deal Here

Economy, HELL! Look at what it's done to our Culture!!!! Legalize Freedom and our Economy AND Culture will prosper and thrive again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <object> <param> <embed> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School

StopTheDrugWar Video Archive