Prisons today by the numbers
•Approximate number of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons and in local jails in the United States: 2,200,000 (0.7% of the US population)
– 93% are male, 7% female.
– 35% are African-American, 34% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 14% of mixed ethnicity.
– About 75% are serving sentences of 20 years or less.
– About 75% are between ages 20 and 50; 1% are juveniles.
• Eighteen states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons are at or over their maximum capacity for housing prisoners.
• About 2,900 prisoners are under death sentences, but there is a backlog of executions: fewer than 50 prisoners are generally executed per year.
• 365 juveniles were executed in the United States between 1624 and 2005, when executing minors was declared unconstitutional.
• Since 1973, 158 people have been released from death row when their innocence was proved.
• About half of state prisoners are incarcerated for violent crimes.
• About half of federal prisoners are incarcerated for drug offenses.
• Nearly half of prisoners conditionally released from federal prison and 75% of conditionally released state prisoners are rearrested within five years.
• 5.1 million people in the United States are on parole or probation.
• The United States imprisons more than 700 people for every 100,000 citizens, the highest rate of incarceration in the world.
—Sources: Federal Bureau of Prisons, US Bureau of Justice Statistics, Eastern State Penitentiary, and others.
This article is from Christian History magazine #123 Captive Faith. Read it in context here!
By the editors
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #123 in 2017]
Recommended resources: Captive faith
Here are some recommendations from CH editorial staff and this issue’s authors to help you navigate the history of Christians in prison and Christians ministering to prisoners.the editors
“God is here, deliverance has come, and there is hope”
Reflections of two prisonersEric Dickerson and Matthew Harper
Were disgruntled parishioners responsible for the apparitions?the editors
Two Hymns of Aspiration
Charle's hymns showed his longing for perfectionCharles Wesley
Subscribe to magazine
Subscription to Christian History magazine is on a donation basisSubscribe
Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. Your donations support the continuation of this ministryDonate