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Probation and Parole in the United States, 2014

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EST Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2015                                          Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-9320


WASHINGTON – The one-percent decline in the number of adults supervised in the community on probation or parole between yearend 2013 and 2014 marked the seventh consecutive year of decline in the population, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. In the past seven years, adults under community supervision declined between 0.5 percent and 2.6 percent annually, or by nearly 400,000 offenders over the 7-year period.

Between yearend 2008 and 2014, the probation population fell 10 percent, while the parole population increased nearly 4 percent. Probation is a court-ordered period of supervision in the community, generally used as an alternative to incarceration, and parole is a period of conditional supervised release in the community following a prison term.

An estimated 4.7 million adults were under correctional community supervision in the United States on December 31, 2014, down 45,300 offenders from the same day in 2013. The decline in community supervision was due to a drop in the number on probation that was offset by an increase in the number on parole. Between yearend 2013 and 2014, the probation population decreased by 46,500 offenders (from 3,910,600 to 3,864,100 offenders) while the parole population increase by 1,700 offenders over the same period (from 855,200 to 856,900 offenders).

Additionally, between yearend 2013 and 2014 the rate of adults under correctional community supervision declined from 1,947 to 1,910 offenders per 100,000 U.S. adult residents. The rate in 2014 was equivalent to about one in 52 U.S. adult residents.

Other probation findings include—

  • About 25 percent of probationers were female in 2014, up from 22 percent in 2000.
  • From 2013 to 2014, probation entries dropped by 27,000 offenders or 1.3 percent (from an estimated 2,094,100 to 2,067,100 entries), while persons exiting probation declined by 600 offenders (from 2,131,300 to 2,130,700 exits).
  • The percentage of probationers supervised for a felony offense increased from 52 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2014.
  • Of all persons on probation during 2014, the incarceration rate (5 percent) among those violating their conditions of supervision—including incarceration for a new offense, a revocation and other reasons—was similar to the rate observed in 2013 (5.4 percent).

Other parole findings include—

  • Twelve percent of parolees were female in 2014, unchanged from 2000.
  • In 2014, nearly a third (31 percent) of parolees were being supervised for violent offenses, about a third (31 percent) for drug crimes and nearly a quarter (22 percent) for property offenses.
  • Parole entries declined by about 6,600 offenders (from 466,800 to 460,200) and exits declined by about 7,700 offenders (from 459,600 to 451,900) during the year. 
  • Among all persons on parole during the year, an estimated 9 percent were reincarcerated in 2014, a rate similar to 2013.
  • Since 2000, the rate of reincarceration of parolees has fluctuated slightly, but has declined overall.

The report, Probation and Parole in the United States, 2014 (NCJ 249057), was written by BJS statisticians Danielle Kaeble, Laura M. Maruschak and Thomas P. Bonczar. The report, related documents and additional information about  BJS statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

Date Published: November 19, 2015