August 20, 2001
Nation's State Prison Population Falls in Second Half of 2000
Nation's State Prison Population Falls in Second Half of 2000 --
First Such Decline Since 1972
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the last six months of 2000, the nation’s state
prison population declined by more than 6,200 inmates – the first measured
decline since 1972, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Although for the entire year the state and federal prison population grew by
1.3 percent, 13 states experienced decreases, led by Massachusetts (down 5.6
percent), New Jersey (down 5.4 percent), New York (down 3.7 percent) and Texas
(down 3.2 percent).
Five states–Idaho (up 14.1 percent), North Dakota (up 14.1 percent),
Mississippi (up 10.9 percent), Vermont (up 10.5 percent) and Iowa (up 10.0
percent) – had increases of at least 10 percent during 2000.
During 2000, the federal prison system added 10,170 inmates – the equivalent
of almost 200 additional inmates each week. Since 1990 the number of federal
prisoners has more than doubled (up 122 percent), while the number of state
inmates had increased 75 percent. Overall, the nation’s prison population increased by 18,191 inmates during the year,
which was the smallest annual increase in 20 years.
California (163,001 inmates), Texas (157,997) and the federal system
(145,416) together held one-third of all prisoners in the country.
At the end of 2000, privately operated facilities housed 87,369 inmates (5.8
percent of state inmates and 10.7 percent of federal inmates). Local jails housed 63,140
state and federal prisoners (4.6 percent of state and federal prisoners).
Altogether, there were 2,071,686 incarcerated people in this country at the
end of 2000, as follows:
|State and federal prisons
|Juvenile facilities (as of October 1999)
|Immigration and Naturalization Service
|Indian country jails
|*Number excludes state and federal prisoners in local
At the end of 2000, 9.7 percent of all black males between 25 and 29 years
old were in prison, compared to 2.9 percent of all Hispanic males and 1.1
percent of all white males in the same age group.
There were 91,612 women in state and federal prisons at the end of last year
– 6.6 percent of all prison inmates. Since 1990 the number of male prisoners has grown 77
percent, while the number of female prisoners has increased by 108 percent.
At the end of 2000 about 1 in every 109 men and 1 in every 1,695 women in the
United States were incarcerated in a state or federal prison. Louisiana had the
highest prison incarceration rate (801 inmates per 100,000 state residents,
followed by Texas (730), Mississippi (688) and Oklahoma (685). Minnesota (with
128 inmates per 100,000 residents) and Maine (129) had the lowest rates.
On December 31, 2000, state prisons were operating between full capacity and
15 percent above capacity. Federal prisons were operating 31 percent above
capacity. The Florida prison system, which was operating at 81 percent of its
rated capacity, reported the lowest percentage of occupied capacity. California,
operating at 94 percent over its designed capacity, had the highest percentage
At midyear 2000, there were 1,320 state adult facilities, 84 federal
facilities and 264 privately operated facilities holding prisoners. During the decade between
June 30, 1990, and June 30, 2000, states added 351 correctional facilities and
more than 528,000 prison beds (up 81 percent).
The report was written by BJS statisticians Allen J. Beck and Paige Harrison.
Single copies may be obtained from the BJS clearinghouse number: 1-800-732-3277. Fax
orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358.
the release date this report will be available at:
The BJS Internet site is:
Additional criminal justice materials
can be obtained from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov
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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354