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Prison Population Rises 12.1%

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has issued its annual bulletin on prison populations. The report stated the number of state and federal prisoners in the U.S. grew by a record 76,099 prisoners during 1989. This figure now reaches a new high of 703, 687 men and women in the nation's prisons. The number represents a 12.1 percent increase over the 627,588 prisoners held at the end of 1988.

The report noted that at the end of 1989 there were 373,866 more prisoners than there were at the end of 1980, which is an increase of about 113 percent.

There were 36, 689 female prisoners and 663,998 male prisoners as of December 1, 1989. The number of women prisoners increased by 21.8 percent last year, whereas the number of male prisoners grew by 11.6 percent. The female population has grown at a faster rate than has the male population every year since 1981, when women were 4.2 percent of the total prison population compared to 5.6 percent last year.

Washing state had 5,816 prisoners at the end of 1988, and 6,928 at the end of 1989 for an annual increase of 19.1 percent.

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