|Issue of the Day: Rate of Imprisonment|
Published Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
At the end of 2007 approximately 7.3 million men and women were under correctional supervision in the nation’s prisons, jails, on probation or parole. The report published this month by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that 1 in 31 adults was incarcerated or under supervision at the end of 2007. This rate of 506 per 100,000 residents has remained steady since 1999. The rate figure, when compared to Great Britain who incarcerates only 153 people per 100,000 residents, Canada 108 and Italy 83, has prompted Human Rights Watch to criticize the United States as the world’s leading jailer.
The report also showed large racial disparities, with black males incarcerated at a rate more than 6.5 times that of white males and 2.5 that of Hispanic males. At the end of 2007 there were 3,138 Black male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 Black males in the United States; this is down for the sixth year in a row. The second highest is the rate of 1,259 Hispanic male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic males, compared with 481 White male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 White males. Amongst females the same disproportion applies to the rates in that 150 Black, 79 Hispanic and 50 White females per 100,000 of each group were imprisoned.