U.S. Incarceration Rate Fell Last Year to Lowest Level Since 1994
The U.S incarceration rate fell last year to its lowest level since 1994, continuing a more than decade-long decline in imprisonment, according to a study published Thursday by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
There were 33,000 fewer people incarcerated in state and federal prisons in 2019—down from 1.46 million at the end of 2018 to 1.43 million. The overall incarceration rate fell to 419 per 100,000 U.S. residents. That’s a 3 percent drop from 2018 and 17 percent down from its 2008 peak.
The total U.S. prison population hit an all-time high in 2009 at a staggering 2.3 million people. Since then, it has fallen by 11 percent as states passed a wave of bipartisan criminal justice reforms in response to exploding budgets, crumbling prison infrastructure, and an increasingly loud outcry over the human costs of mass incarceration.
The vast majority of in
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