January 23, 2022

Reference: New Reports, Data About Prisoners and Inmates in the U.S. Published by Bureau of Justice Statistics

Two new reports/datasets released and an online database update today from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Text reports and data files are available.

1. Prisoners in 2015

Presents final counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities at yearend 2015, including admissions, releases, noncitizen inmates, and inmates age 17 or younger.

The report describes prisoner populations by jurisdiction, most serious offense, and demographic characteristics. Selected findings on prison capacity and prisoners held in private prisons, local jails, and the U.S. military and territories are also included. Findings are based on data from BJSs National Prisoner Statistics program, which collects data from state departments of correction and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.Highlights:

  • The total number of prisoners held under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities on December 31, 2015 (1,526,800) decreased by 35,500 (down more than 2%) from yearend 2014.
  • The federal prison population decreased by 14,100 prisoners from 2014 to 2015 (down almost 7%), accounting for 40% of the total change in the U.S. prison population.
  • After increasing during the previous 2 years, the number of state and federal female prisoners decreased by 1% in 2015.
  • State and federal prisons held 1,476,800 persons sentenced to more than 1 year on December 31, 2015.
  • The imprisonment rate in the United States decreased 3%, from 471 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents of all ages in 2014 to 458 prisoners per 100,000 in 2015.

2. Jail Inmates in 2015

Presents information on the change in the number of jail inmates between 2000 and 2015 by sex, race, Hispanic origin, and conviction status. This report also provides estimates of year-to-year changes from 2000 to 2015 in the average daily population, rated capacity of local jails, and percent of capacity occupied. It also includes statistics, by jurisdiction size, on changes in the number of inmates, number of admissions, and weekly turnover rate between 2014 and 2015. Estimates and standard errors were based on BJS’s Annual Survey of Jails.


  • An estimated 721,300 inmates were confined in county and city jails on an average day in 2015, down from the peak of 776,600 inmates on an average day in 2008. „„
  • In 2015, there were 10.9 million admissions to jails, continuing a steady decline since 2008.
  • The number of persons admitted to jail in 2015 was nearly 15 times the size of average daily population in 2015. „„
  • The adult jail incarceration rate declined from a peak of 340 per 100,000 in 2006 through 2008 to about 300 per 100,000 each year since 2013. „„
  • The juvenile population in local jails continued to decline in 2015, to fewer than 4,000down from a peak of about 7,600 juveniles in 2000 and 2010.

Interactive Data Tool Updated

2015 Data Added to the Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool (CSAT) – Prisoners

This data analysis tool provides instant access to BJS’s National Prisoner Statistics data on inmates under the jurisdiction of federal and state correctional authorities, including state-level prisoner data from the 50 state departments of correction, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the District of Columbia. Users can instantly generate tables of yearend populations, admissions, and releases by selected prisoner characteristics.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.