Trends and Number of Adults Under Correctional Supervision in the US

"The decline in the total correctional population, from 6,549,700 in 2017 to 6,410,000 in 2018, continued a downward trend that began in 2008 (table 1). Persons supervised in the community on either probation (3,540,000 persons) or parole (878,000) continued to make up the majority of the correctional population at year-end 2018. Nearly 7 in 10 persons in the correctional population were supervised in the community at year-end 2018 (4,399,000), while 3 in 10 were incarcerated in state or federal prisons or local jails (2,123,100).2

"The 2.1% decrease in the correctional population from 2017 to 2018 was due to a 2.4% decline in the number of persons supervised in the community and a 1.4% decline in the incarcerated population. The decrease in the community-supervision population during 2018 accounted for 79% of the decline in the total correctional population. Between December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2018, the number of persons under supervision in the community decreased to 4,399,000 (down 109,900). The total community-supervision population decreased by 2.4% during 2018, as the probation population decreased 2.9% and the parole population increased 0.3%. At the end of 2018, the number of persons under community supervision was the lowest since 1998, when they numbered 4,122,400 (not shown in tables).

"On December 31, 2018, an estimated 2,123,100 persons were either under the jurisdiction of state or federal prisons or in the custody of local jails, which was 30,500 fewer persons than in 2017. By year-end 2018, the number of persons incarcerated in state or federal prisons or local jails fell to the lowest level since 2003, when 2,086,500 persons were incarcerated (not shown in tables).

"During 2018, the prison population decreased 1.6%, while the jail population remained relatively stable. The prison population at year-end 2018 (1,465,200) was at its lowest level since 2002 (1,440,100; not shown in tables). The total incarcerated population was 1.4% lower in 2018 than in 2017."


Laura M. Maruschak and Todd D. Minton. Correctional Populations in the United States, 2017-2018. Bureau of Justice Statistics: Washington, DC. August 2020. NCJ252157.