May 28, 2022

New Data: Prisoners in 2017 and Jail Inmates in 2017 (U.S.)

Two items. New data out today from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

1.  Prisoners in 2017 

Presents final counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities at year-end 2017 and includes findings on admissions, releases, and imprisonment rates. Selected findings on prisoner demographic and offense characteristics, non-U.S. citizen inmates, prisoners age 17 or younger, prison capacity, and prisoners held in private prisons, local jails, the U.S. military, and U.S. territories are also included. Findings are based on data from BJS’s National Prisoner Statistics program, which collects data from state departments of corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.


  • The imprisonment rate for sentenced prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction decreased 2.1% from 2016 to 2017 (from 450 to 440 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents) and 13% from 2007 to 2017 (from 506 to 440 per 100,000).
  • The number of prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction decreased by 18,700 (down 1.2%), from 1,508,100 at year-end 2016 to 1,489,400 at year-end 2017.
  • The federal prison population decreased by 6,100 prisoners from year-end 2016 to year-end 2017 (down 3%), accounting for one-third of the overall change in the U.S. prison population.
  • More than half (55%) of state prisoners were serving sentences for violent offenses at year-end 2016, the most recent year for which data are available.
  • The number of state or federal prisoners held in private facilities decreased 5% from 2016 to 2017.


2. Jail Inmates in 2017

Presents data on inmates confined in local jails from 2005 to 2017, including population counts and incarceration rates, inmate demographic characteristics and conviction status, admissions, jail capacity, and inmate turnover rates. Findings are based on data from BJS’s Annual Survey of Jails and Census of Jail Inmates. Unlike prisons, jails are locally administered correctional facilities that typically house inmates with a sentence of one year or less, inmates pending arraignment, and individuals awaiting trial, conviction, or sentencing.


  • County and city jails held 745,200 inmates at midyear 2017, down from 780,200 at midyear 2007.
  • The jail incarceration rate declined from 259 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents at midyear 2007 to 229 per 100,000 at midyear 2017, a 12% decrease.
  • In 2017, males were incarcerated in jail at a rate (394 per 100,000 male U.S. residents) 5.7 times that of females (69 per 100,000 female U.S. residents).
  • In 2017, jails reported 10.6 million admissions, a 19% decline from 2007.
  • The estimated average time in jail in 2017 was 26 days.


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.