U.S. The world's largest jailer
- 2.4 million people incarcerated in the United States: Prison Policy Initiative, "Mass incarceration: The whole piece," March 12, 2014. Note: Figure includes federal and state prisons, local jails, juvenile facilities, Indian Country jails, military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories.
- 4.8 million people on probation or parole: Correctional Populations in the United States 2013, Bureau of Justice Statistics
- U.S. has 5 percent of the world's population: U.S. Census
- U.S. has 25 percent of the world prison population: World Prison Population List, International Centre for Prison Studies
- Prison population rate (per 100,000 residents) by country: World Prison Population List, International Centre for Prison Studies
The people behind the numbers
- In 2013, the prison population included 3% of all Black men in the U.S., 1% of all Latino men in the U.S., 0.5% of all White men in the U.S.: "Prisoners in 2013," Bureau of Justice Statistics
- 213,700 women in prison and jails in 2013, a 25 percent increase since 2000: "Correctional Populations in the United States 2013," Bureau of Justice Statistics
- 69,776 people age 60 and over: "Prisoners in 2013," Bureau of Justice Statistics.
- 54,148 juveniles in detention facilities: Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention, 2013
- Lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for various groups: For African-American, Latino, and white men and women: "Prevalence of Imprisonment in the U.S. Population, 1974-2001," Bureau of Justice Statistics. For transgender people: "A Blueprint for Equality: Reducing Incarceration and Ending Abuse in Prisons (2015), National Center for Transgender Equality.
The lasting legacy of "tough on crime" laws
- 159,520 people serving life sentences: "Life goes on: The historic rise in life sentences in America," The Sentencing Project (September 2013)
- 81,622 people in solitary confinement: "Prisons Within Prisons: The Use of Segregation in the United States," Bureau of Justice Statistics (October 2011)
- 3,095 people on death row: "Death Row USA, 2013," NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- U.S. prison population (1925-2013): The Sentencing Project
Prison population, by conviction
The social and economic costs
- 1.7 million children with a parent in prison (1 in 28 kids): "Incarcerated Parents and Their Children, Trends 1991-2007," The Sentencing Project
- 1 in 9 Black children with a father or mother in prison: "Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility," The Pew Charitable Trusts
- 54 percent of prisoners are parents with children under 18: "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children," Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008
- $39 billion spent by the U.S. on incarceration every year: "The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers," Vera Institute of Justice, 2012. Note: These are direct costs of corrections and does not include such as costs as social services, child welfare, or other costs borne by other agencies, families or communities.
- $31,286 average cost per prisoner per year: "The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers," Vera Institute of Justice, 2012