The Marshall Project

The U.S. Prison Population is Shrinking

State and Federal Incarceration Continues to Edge Down

The number of people in U.S. prisons fell to a nine-year low of just under 1.5 million last year, a 1.3 percent decrease, according to a report released today by the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice.

The prison population declined in 31 states last year, bringing the number of people in state custody down to about 1.3 million. In the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which holds a smaller share of the nation’s prisoners, the population in custody edged down 1.6 percent to 180,000.

Advocates for prison reform have come released in 2018, covers prisoners in 2016. The 2017 data is set to be released on Thursday.

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