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Prisoners in State and Federal Institutions on December 31, 1979 - Advance Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1980
Publication Series
As of December 31, 1979, the national prisoner count produced a record high of 314,000 imprisoned persons, with more states than ever before housing inmates in local jails to alleviate overcrowding in state prisons.
Although the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities on December 31, 1979, was a record for the fifth year in a row, the 2.3 percent increase over the 1978 year-end count was virtually unchanged from the preceding year. Inmates in state institutions increased by 3.8 percent, slightly, higher than the 3.5 figure for 1978. Federal institutions experienced a net reduction in the number of prisoners, reflecting the continued high priority accorded efforts to relieve overcrowding and the prosecution of individuals implicated in white-collar and organized crime. Such cases require longer processing and result in relatively fewer commitments. The slowdown in the growth of the overall prison population did not occur uniformly in all states. Accounting for two-fifths of the total increase in the state prison population were Texas, California, and New York. Regionally, the west had the highest relative increase in prisoners and the north central area had the lowest. The relative increase for women prisoners was about half that of the previous year and it was lower than that for men (the first time in almost a decade). Prisoners in some 15 states were housed in local jails because of overcrowding in state-operated facilities. Prisoners with sentences of more than 1 year, who accounted for more than 96 percent of all inmates increased by 3 percent. A chart showing overall sentence length and inmate totals for each of the 50 states is included along with footnotes.

Date Published: January 1, 1980