U.S. Prison Population Larger Than That of 12 States

Sunday, December 13, 2009
(photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabiliatation)

Even though growth in the U.S. prison population has been declining this decade, the total number of people behind bars still is greater than the number of Americans living in almost one quarter of the states. From 2007 to 2008 the prison population grew less than 1%, the smallest rate of expansion since 2000. The total in all federal and state prisons last year reached 1.6 million inmates—which is more than the populations of the following states:

Idaho                           1,523,816
Maine                          1,316,456
New Hampshire            1,315,809
Hawaii                         1,288,198
Rhode Island                 1,050,788
Montana                          967,440
Delaware                         873,092
South Dakota                   804,194
Alaska                             686,293
North Dakota                    641,481
Vermont                           621,270
Wyoming                          532,668
The United States leads the world in the percentage of its citizens who are incarcerated.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Prisoners in 2008 (Bureau of Justice Statistics)


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