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State and Federal Prisoners, 1925-85

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1986
Publication Series
Using annual statistics for State and Federal correctional institutions for 1925-1985, trends in prison population are examined.

In general, the inmate population has increased over the entire period, about half of which reflects growth in the general population. The average annual growth rate for the prison population was 2.8 percent, as compared with a 1.2 percent growth in the general population. Further, the incarceration rate showed an increase from 79 to 201 per 100,000 residents. Between 1925 and 1939 prison populations grew at an average rate of 4.9 percent. During the Depression, no growth occurred in prison populations, while populations declined during both World War II and during the early part of the Vietnam War (1961-68). A dramatic rise in incarceration rates began in 1974 and continued through 1985, with an average annual increase of 7.4 percent for the period. At the end of 1985, the incarceration rate was 201 per 100,000, the highest ever recorded. 3 tables, 3 references, and a listing of Bureau of Justice Statistics reports.

Date Published: October 1, 1986