Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

5 Million Americans in Jail or on Parole, Probation, U.S. Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

5 Million Americans in Jail or on Parole, Probation, U.S. Says

Article excerpt

A record 5.1 million Americans were either behind bars or on probation or parole at the end of last year, the Justice Department reported Sunday.

Prisons and jails are overflowing, and the use of supervision in the community is rising.

The total number under some kind of correctional supervision amounted to almost 2.7 percent of the nation's adult population. But nearly three out of four of those were being supervised in the community on probation or parole rather than in cells, according to the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Since 1980, the number of people in prison or jail, or on probation or parole has almost tripled, growing at an average rate of 7.6 percent a year and at an actual rate of 3.9 percent last year.

The resulting pressure on already overcrowded prisons and jails has pushed up the overall use of probation and parole, even though the federal government and some jurisdictions in recent years have eliminated parole.

Overall, the state and federal probation population rose 2 percent last year, and the overall parole population grew by 2. …

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