[Ppnews] 7M in U.S. jails, on probation or parole

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Nov 30 13:49:53 EST 2006

7M in U.S. jails, on probation or parole

KASIE HUNT      Associated Press                    Thu, Nov. 30, 2006

WASHINGTON - A record 7 million people - or one in every 32 American
adults - were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of
last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million
were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous
year, according to a report released Wednesday.

More than 4.1 million people were on probation and 784,208 were on
parole at the end of 2005. Prison releases are increasing, but
admissions are increasing more.

Men still far outnumber women in prisons and jails, but the female
population is growing faster. Over the past year, the female
population in state or federal prison increased 2.6 percent while the
number of male inmates rose 1.9 percent. By year's end, 7 percent of
all inmates were women. The gender figures do not include inmates in
local jails.

"Today's figures fail to capture incarceration's impact on the
thousands of children left behind by mothers in prison," Marc Mauer,
the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based
group supporting criminal justice reform, said in a statement.
"Misguided policies that create harsher sentences for nonviolent drug
offenses are disproportionately responsible for the increasing rates
of women in prisons and jails."

 From 1995 to 2003, inmates in federal prison for drug offenses have
accounted for 49 percent of total prison population growth.

The numbers are from the annual report from the Justice Department's
Bureau of Justice Statistics. The report breaks down inmate
populations for state and federal prisons and local jails.

Racial disparities among prisoners persist. In the 25-29 age group,
8.1 percent of black men - about one in 13 - are incarcerated,
compared with 2.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.1 percent of white
men. And it's not much different among women. By the end of 2005,
black women were more than twice as likely as Hispanics and over
three times as likely as white women to be in prison.

Certain states saw more significant changes in prison population. In
South Dakota, the number of inmates increased 11 percent over the
past year, more than any other state. Montana and Kentucky were next
in line with increases of 10.4 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.
Georgia had the biggest decrease, losing 4.6 percent, followed by
Maryland with a 2.4 percent decrease and Louisiana with a 2.3 percent drop.



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