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Nearly 2% of U.S. Adults on Parole or Probation at Year-End 2013

According to a statistical report released by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics in October 2014, there were nearly 4.8 million U.S. adults on some form of community supervision at the end of 2013. Although this amounts to about 1 in 51 members of the adult population, it is a reduction of 29,900 compared with yearend 2012.

The number of adults under community supervision has decreased each year since 2008, coinciding with the start of the economic recession. Preceding this decline were twenty seven years of increasing community supervision at an annual rate varying between 0.6% and 12.9% between 1980 and 2007. From 2000 through 2012, community supervision grew 0.4%, consisting of increases of 0.2% in probation and 1.3% in parole. From 2012 to 2013, community supervision decreased by 0.6% with probation decreasing by 0.8% while parole increased 0.2%.

The overwhelming majority (3,910,600) of adults on community supervision were on probation. This was a reduction of 32,200 compared to yearend 2012. By contrast, the parole population grew from 851,200 at yearend 2012 to 853,200 by the end of 2013. 54% of probationers exited probation in 2013.

In 2012, 68% of probationers who exited probation did so by successfully completing the term of supervision or being granted an early discharge. In 2013, the percentage dropped to 66%. In both 2012 and 2013, 15% of those exiting probation did so by being reincarcerated due to new charges or revocation and 3% absconded. In 2013, 11% of probationers exiting parole did so in other unsatisfactory ways (up from 2012's 9%) such as discharged but still owing fees or revoked but immediately reinstated. In both years, 1% transferred to another agency and 1% died.

The overall reincarceration rate for probationers was 5.4% in 2013, up slightly from 5.1% in 2012. This increase followed four years of gradual decrease from 6.0% in 2008 to 5.1% in 2012.

The percentage of the adult probation population who are female increased from 22% in 2000 to 25% in 2013. At the end of 2013, 54% of probations were non-Hispanic white, 30% were non-Hispanic black and 14% were Hispanic or Latino. This is similar to the demographics observed since 2000.

Exits from parole decreased by 7.8% and entries decreased 6.2% between 2012 and 2013. However, the rate of parole decreased from 353 parolees per 100,000 adults in the U.S. population at the end of 2012 to 350 at yearend 2013 as growth in the overall population outstripped growth in parole. About 10% of parolees were reincarcerated in 2013 (up from 9% in 2012). 3.1% received sentences for new criminal charges (2.9% in 2012) while 6.1% had their paroles revoked without new criminal charges (5.3% in 2012) and the remaining 0.8% were reincarcerated for other reasons (e.g. released in error).

Compared to the average daily number of parolees, 54% of the parolees exited parole in 2013 (down from 58% in 2012, 63% in 2011, 67% in 2010 and 70% in 2009). 33% completed parole, while 16% were returned to prison (5% with a new sentence). 1% absconded (down from 6% in each year between 2009 and 2012). 1% transferred to another state and 1% died.

Parolee demographics were unchanged in 2013, with 88% of the parolee population male, 43% non-Hispanic white, 38% non-Hispanic black and 17% Hispanic or Latino.

The percentage of parolees on active supervision was 84%, an increase of 2% over 2012. 95% of parolees had a sentence of one year or more and 29% were under supervision for a violent offense--both unchanged from 2012. Source: Probation and Parole in the United States, 2013, Bulletin No. NCJ 248029, available free online at

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