Number of People In Jails In The US

"Local jails in the United States held about 734,500 inmates at midyear 2019 decline of 6% from a peak of 785,500 inmates (table 1), a in 2008. About 65% (480,700) of jail inmates were awaiting court action on a current charge, while the remaining 35% (253,700) were serving a sentence or awaiting sentencing on a conviction.

"At midyear 2019, there were 224 persons incarcerated in jail per 100,000 U.S. residents (figure 1). Blacks were incarcerated at a rate (600 per 100,000) more than three times the rate for whites (184 per 100,000). From 2008 to 2018, the incarceration rate grew 10% for whites, and fell 27% for blacks, 32% for Asians, and 36% for Hispanics. The rate change for American Indian/American Natives was not statistically significant during this period.

"Findings in this report are based on the 2005, 2013, and 2019 Census of Jails (COJ) and the 2006 to 2018 Annual Survey of Jails (ASJ). The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) periodically conducts the COJ, a complete enumeration of local jail facilities, to collect data on inmate population and programs. In the years between complete enumerations of jails, BJS conducts the ASJ, a national survey administered to a sample of approximately 900 jails, to provide national statistics on the number and characteristics of local jail inmates."


Zhen Zeng, PhD, and Todd D. Minton. Jail Inmates In 2019. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. March 2021. NCJ255608.