Locked Up: Incarceration Trends in America

Since 2002, the United States has maintained the highest incarceration rate in the world. Although prison populations are increasing in various parts of the world, more than 1 percent of American adults are now behind bars; equating to 1 out of 100 American adults (which surpasses any other nation on earth).

In fact, the USA holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, it’s estimated that 1 in every 31 adults (aka. 3.2 percent of the US population) is under one form of correctional control or another.

The total number of incarcerated Americans in both state and federal prisons has exceeded 2.4 million (quadruple the number of inmates since 1980). Men make up 90 percent of the prison and local jail population, with an imprisonment rate 14 times higher than the rate for women. Furthermore as the years progress, these incarcerated men experience jail-time at younger ages. Prison rates are highest for American men in their 20s and early 30s.

There are many offences that divide U.S. inmates from lesser charges to larceny convictions. To gauge these current trends in the U.S. prison systems, take a look at our latest infographic, below.


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