- The Washington Times - Monday, August 27, 2001

The Justice Department yesterday said the nation's combined federal, state and local adult correctional population reached a new high of almost 6.5 million men and women during 2000, an increase of 117,400 men and women during the year.
According to a report by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, the total represented 3.1 percent of the country's total adult population, or 1 in nearly every 32 adults — including incarcerated inmates as well as probationers and parolees living in the community.
As of Dec. 31, 2000, the latest statistics available, the department said there were 3,839,532 men and women on probation, 725,527 on parole, 1,312,354 in prison and 621,149 in local jails.
Justice Department officials also said that during the past decade, the total correctional population increased 49 percent, and that there were 2.1 million more men and women under correctional supervision in 2000 than in 1990.
The states with the largest percentages of their adult populations under correctional supervision were Georgia (6.8 percent); Texas (5.0 percent); and Idaho (4.9 percent). The states with the smallest percentages of their populations under supervision were West Virginia, New Hampshire and North Dakota, each with 0.9 percent.
According to the report, almost a third of all people under correctional supervision were in prison or jail. More than half of the correctional populations in Mississippi, 58 percent; Virginia, 56 percent, and the federal system, 56 percent, were incarcerated. Minnesota, at 9 percent, and Vermont, with 11 percent, had the lowest percentage incarcerated.
At the end of last year, the report said, the number of adults under community supervision as probationers or parolees reached almost 4.6 million, up from 3.2 million on Dec. 31, 1990. Among probationers — criminal offenders sentenced to a period of correctional supervision in the community — 52 percent had been convicted of a felony; 46 percent, a misdemeanor; and 2 percent, other infractions.
Twenty-four percent were on probation for driving while intoxicated and 18 percent for a drug law violation, the report said.
Justice Department officials said 16 states reported fewer than 1 percent of their adult populations on probation. Three states had increases of at least 10 percent in their probation populations during 2000 — Mississippi (up 13 percent), South Dakota (up 11 percent) and Oklahoma (up 10 percent).
Eight states and the District of Columbia reported a decline in their probation populations, led by South Carolina, which was down 12 percent; Missouri, which declined 5 percent; and Kansas, which had a 5 percent decrease.
Almost all adults on parole, a period of conditional supervision following a prison term, had been convicted of a felony — about 97 percent.
Nationwide, women made up 22 percent of adult probationers in 2000, up from 18 percent in 1990; they also accounted for 12 percent of all parolees, up from 8 percent in 1990.
The report said that at the end of 2000, more than a third of probationers and more than 2 out of 5 adults on parole were black, while nearly two-thirds of probationers and more than half of parolees were white. Persons of other races accounted for about 2 percent of probationers and 1 percent of parolees.
Persons of Hispanic origin, who are of any race, comprised 16 percent of the probation population and 21 percent of the parole population.


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