Number of People Serving Time in State and Federal Prisons in the US

"At year-end 2019, an estimated 1,430,800 prisoners were under state or federal jurisdiction, a decrease of 2% from the 1,464,400 prisoners in 2018 and 11% from the peak of 1,615,500 prisoners in 2009 (table 1). About 88% of all prisoners were under state jurisdiction and 12% were under BOP jurisdiction in 2019, with state prisoners accounting for 86% of the decline in the total prison population from 2018 (not shown in tables). By yearend 2019, the total prison population declined for the sixth consecutive year, and the federal prison population declined for the seventh consecutive year.

"Thirty-five states showed decreases in their year-end prison populations from 2018 to 2019 (table 2). Texas had the largest decline (down 5,200 prisoners), followed by Missouri (down 4,300), whose laws on non-violent offenders’ parole eligibility changed in 2019. Large declines were also seen in New York (down 3,100), Illinois (down 1,700), Pennsylvania (down 1,500), and Florida (down 1,500). Prison populations increased in 12 states from 2018 to 2019, with Alabama seeing the largest increase (up 1,500 prisoners).

"Overall, the number of male and female prisoners both declined from year-end 2018 to 2019. The number of male prisoners, who made up 92% of the total prison population at year-end 2019, declined by more than 30,700 (down 2%) from year-end 2018. The number of female prisoners decreased by more than 2,800 (down 3%). While 37 states and the BOP showed decreases in male prisoners from year-end 2018 to year-end 2019, a total of 32 states and the BOP had decreases in female prisoners at the end of 2019. Texas had 800 fewer and Missouri had 700 fewer female prisoners at year-end 2019 than at year-end 2018. Large percentage changes occurred in states with smaller female prisoner populations, including in Massachusetts (down almost 43%), Missouri (down 23%), and Maine (down 22%)."


E. Ann Carson, PhD. Prisoners In 2019. Washington, DC: US Dept of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 2020, NCJ255155.