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A Prison a Week

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, Prisoners in 1993, the nationwide 7.4% growth rate of state and federal prison populations in 1993 translates to 1,254 additional prisoners each week. This rate of growth can only be supported by building one 1,254 bed prison somewhere in the United States every week. Prison populations reached a record high of 948,881 in 1993. That number is presumably well over one million by now. State and federal prison populations have grown at an average rate of 8.3% per year since 1980 when the prison population stood at 329, 821. The prison population has risen 187.7% since 1980.

California imprisons the largest number (119, 951) followed in order by Texas (71,103), New York (64,569), Florida (53,048) and (Ohio (40,641). The states with the highest incarceration rates (prisoners per l00,000 residents) are Texas (553), Oklahoma (506), Louisiana (499), South Carolina (489), and Nevada (438). The largest population increases in 1993 were reported by Connecticut (20.1%), Texas (16.2%), Minnesota (15.5%), Mississippi (15.2%), and Oklahoma (10.7%). In the five year period ending in 1993, the states with the largest increase in prison populations were Washington (79.1%), Texas (75.8%), New Hampshire (74.2%), Connecticut (71.0%) and Tennessee (65.9%).

The fastest growing segment of the prison population is female prisoners, whose population rose 9.6% in 1993. There are currently 55,365 women imprisoned in the U.S., 5.8% of all persons imprisoned.

The incarceration rate for black males is 2,678 (per 100,000 residents), for white males it is 372. For black females it is l43, for white females it is 20. Blacks are seven times as likely as whites to be imprisoned. Black males between the ages of 25 and 29 are imprisoned at the rate of 6,301 per 100,000. Since l980 the incarceration rate for white males has increased by 121%, for black males, 14 l %.

Persons interested in obtaining a free copy of the BJS Bulletln can do so by writing the Bureau of Justice Statist:ics Clearinghouse, PO Box 179, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0179 and requesting a copy of Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, Prisoners in 1993.

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