Statistics on Prison Population Rates


1. The effect of incarceration rates on crime
2. Number of people incarcerated
3. Prison occupancy
4. The US
5. Race and incarceration in the US and the UK
6. Crime rates
7. The social effects of incarceration
8. Social class and incarceration in the US

1. The effect of incarceration rates on crime

The human rights issues created by incarceration are evident, I think: locking people up means taking away a number if not all of their basic liberties, most obviously their freedom of movement, freedom to work and political freedom in some cases, as well as their physical security and privacy. Other rights violations have to do with the kind of people who are locked up and the often substandard conditions in which many prisoners are kept, even in rich countries such as the U.S.:

  • Children are often incarcerated
  • Federal prisons in the U.S. hold 60% more prisoners than they were designed for
  • Prisoners often have to perform forced and/or unpaid labor
  • Prison rape is common
  • Incarceration reduces former inmates’ earnings by 40 percent when compared to demographically similar counterparts who have not been imprisoned
  • Children of inmates suffer from the absence of a parent
  • Incarceration rates often betray racism in criminal justice
  • etc.

Some people clearly deserve to be put in jail, and often that is what is required and necessary in order to protect the human rights of their (possible) victims. There’s also a deterrent effect: one study has shown that a 10 percent increase in incarceration is associated with two to four percent drop in crime. In the U.S at least, there’s a correlation between soaring incarceration rates (see below) and spectacular drops in crime rates. However, other data point to little or no effect of mass incarceration on crime:

the effect on crime of high incarceration rates

the effect on crime of high incarceration rates


America continues to lock up a scandalously large number of its people: around 1% of the adult population is behind bars at any time. But … “the relationship between the incarceration rate and the violent-crime rate is not very strong.” New York has not followed the national mania for imprisonment, and yet the decline in its crime has been among the most impressive. (source)

There are also other explanations – beside incarceration rates – for drops in crime rates. See here for a telling example.

In any case, even if there is a deterrent effect of incarceration, the incarceration rates in many countries – and more specifically in the US – go beyond what is required for public safety and the rights of victims. A lot of people who are in jails are no threat to the rights of anyone. The undeniable harm resulting from these rates cannot justify the uncertain benefits.

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2. Number of people incarcerated

When trying to understand the scale of a country’s prison population, you have to distinguish between stocks and flows: between the number of people in prison at a certain moment in time (usually related to the size of the total population of a country) and the admission rates (the flows of people coming into prison, perhaps netted by subtracting those who leave). Most of the numbers cited are stocks. For example, this graph shows the number of people per 100.000 citizens who are incarcerated:




This map shows the same thing:




incarceration rates per country

incarceration rates in selected countries 2001 v 1983

incarceration rates in selected countries 2001 v 1983


countries with most prisoners


top 10 countries with highest incarceration rates

incarceration rates in oecd countries


inmates per 100000 population


Some data for the UK specifically:

_47457165_prisononly_popn_1900_466 (2)

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3. Prison occupancy

And these graph shows the under- or over-use of prisons (prison occupancy, or the number of prisoners compared to the number of places in prisons – over 100% indicates overpopulation in prisons, and hence bad prison conditions):

prison occupancy rate




In the U.S., the occupancy rate is 106%: there are 2.16 million places in U.S. prisons, and 2.27 million prisoners. (See below). California for instance has 117,000 prison inmates living in facilities built for 81,600.

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4. The U.S.

As you can see from country comparisons, the U.S. leads the world, both in absolute and in relative (per capita) terms.

incarceration rates US and rest of the world


The U.S. imprisons more people than any other country on earth: it has the highest fraction of population in prison, 0.7% vs a world median of roughly 0.1%, and it has the highest number of people in prison – more than 2 million (if you include local jail, state and federal prison populations). With 5 percent of the world population, the U.S. hosts upward of 20 percent of the world’s prisoners. 1 out of every 100 American adults is in prison. 10% of prisoners serve a life sentence. Another 10% are doing more than 20 years. 10% of prisoners are housed in private facilities.

The data for the US are a bit complicated because of the different levels of government:


(source, click image to enlarge)

The increase in the US is a relatively recent phenomenon. In 1980, there were about 220 people incarcerated for every 100.000 Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to 731. No other country even approaches that. Comparable European figures include 153 for England, 96 for France, 92 for Italy, 66 for Denmark and 90 for Germany. The U.S. incarceration rate has roughly quintupled since the early 1970s. States like California now spend more on locking people up than on funding higher education.

If you add those on probation (convicted offenders not incarcerated) or on parole (under community supervision after a period of incarceration) to the incarceration totals, then it’s not 2 million but over 7 million adults who are under correctional supervision in the U.S. That’s 1 in every 50 Americans.

us incarceration rate


number of incarcerated in the US


Only very recently has the trend changed:

us prison population

US prison population declining


If you look at the most recent admissions data (see above for the difference between stocks and flows), the downward trend is even more pronounced:

us prison admissions


The rising numbers for the last decades can’t be explained by an increase in total population:

US Prison Population Growth

Over the past forty years the number of incarcerated people has increased 350 percent while population increased 33 percent. “Tough on crime” policies such as “three strikes you’re out” laws, combined with the war on drugs are the reasons behind the numbers.

public support for tough on crime and incarceration rate


drug arrests US


Non-violent drug offenders make up 25 percent of the incarcerated population (up from less than 10 percent in 1980) (source). One would expect enormous increases in the price of drugs given this attempt to incarcerate the entire supply side of the drug market. However, prices have fallen:

incarceration rates and drug prices


Another cause of higher incarceration rates: “tough on crime” policies mean harsher sentences. Since 1990, the average length of prison sentences in the U.S. has increased by 36 percent. Long sentences for non-violent first offenses, coupled with laws mandating increased penalties for repeat offenders, mean that prisons are more crowded than ever.

Like many things in the US, the regional distribution shows large differences:

incarceration rates by US State


One can question “tough on crime” policies on the basis of the rights of inmates, but also in light of their results: compared to other developed countries (see point 2 above), the US has a very high incarceration rate and yet its crime rate isn’t consistently lower (it’s even higher than similar countries for murder and a few other crimes). It’s true that crime rates have come down a lot over the past decades, at least for most types of crime.

Crime Rates 2008


Incarceration is part of the explanation. A study has shown that a 10 percent increase in incarceration is associated with two to four percent drop in crime. However, the deterrent effect is not undisputed and other factors have also driven the downward trend (cultural changes, better policing, a reduction in lead-intake etc.). See above.

Interesting fact: in the U.S., men are incarcerated at a rate 14 times higher than women.

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5. Race and incarceration in the US and the UK

The racial distribution of inmates in the U.S. is highly unfavorable for black Americans. Whereas they only make up 12% or so of the total U.S. population, they represent more than 40% of inmates:

U.S. population by race:

us population by race

U.S. inmates by race:

us inmates by race


Almost 5 out of every 100 male African-Americans are in jail, a rate more than five times that of white Americans.

US incarceration rates by race


Among men born between 1965 and 1969, 3 percent of whites and 20 percent of blacks had served time in prison by their early thirties. Among black men born during this period, 30 percent of those without college education and nearly 60 percent of high school dropouts went to prison by 1999 (source).

Incarceration rates in the United States have risen sharply since 1980, but especially for young black men. More than one in three young black men without a high school diploma is currently behind bars. Young black men who dropped out of high school are more likely to be incarcerated than employed. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives.

incarceration rates US by race

incarceration rates by race, US, 2009

incarceration rates by race, US, 2009





Here are data on other races:

percentage of males incarcerated by nativity and level of education






Racial bias is also a problem in the U.K.:

prison population by race uk


And just to show that it can even be worse: US black men are imprisoned at 6.4 times the rate of white men, but in Australia, the incarceration rate for Aboriginal men is about 18 times the national average.

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6. Crime rates

Prison population statistics do not always compare directly to crime rate statistics. National authorities can be more or less effective or prejudiced in the prosecution of crime, and this is reflected in prison population statistics. A low percentage of the population that is incarcerated doesn’t imply a low crime rate. It can just as well imply ineffective prosecution. Conversely, low crime rates that correlate with high incarceration rates don’t necessarily imply effective law enforcement: many people in prison can be there for victimless “crimes” such as drug use, or low crimes rates can have other causes besides high incarceration rates. Hence, pointing to low crimes rates may not be a good justification of high incarceration rates.

US incarceration and crime rates


Regarding crime rate statistics, there are some misunderstandings about so-called “immigrant crime”, especially in the U.S.:


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7. The social effects of incarceration

[T]he effects of [the] change in the imprisonment rate [in the U.S.] … have been concentrated among those most likely to form fragile families: poor and minority men with little schooling. Imprisonment diminishes the earnings of adult men, compromises their health, reduces familial resources, and contributes to family breakup. It also adds to the deficits of poor children, thus ensuring that the effects of imprisonment on inequality are transferred intergenerationally. … Because having a parent go to prison is now so common for poor, minority children and so negatively affects them, the authors argue that mass imprisonment may increase future racial and class inequality — and may even lead to more crime in the long term, thereby undoing any benefits of the prison boom. U.S. crime policy has thus, in the name of public safety, produced more vulnerable families and reduced the life chances of their children. (source, source)

US incarceration timeline

US incarceration timeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an example of a self-defeating human rights policy: in an attempt to improve the protection of security rights and property rights of a population, a policy of increased incarceration rates has an adverse effect on the rights of the incarcerated, their families and children, and possibly even society at large (as increased inequality resulting from high incarceration rates among society’s most vulnerable groups will perhaps lead to more crime – although we can’t assume that increasing poverty and inequality will automatically provoke those who are impoverished because of incarceration to resort to crime).

number of children with parent in jail




In the U.S., 24% of black children will have had a parent behind bars by age 17, an eightfold increase since 1980.

Incarceration also has an effect on infant mortality:

This article estimates the effects of imprisonment on infant mortality using data from the United States, 1990-2003. Results using state-level data show consistent effects of imprisonment rates on infant mortality rates and absolute black-white inequality in infant mortality rates. Estimates suggest that had the American imprisonment rate remained at the 1973 level—the year generally considered the beginning of the prison boom—the 2003 infant mortality rate would have been 7.8% lower, absolute black-white inequality in the infant mortality rate 14.8% lower. Results using micro-level data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) show that recent parental incarceration elevates early infant mortality risk, that effects are concentrated in the postneonatal period, and that partner violence moderates these relationships. Importantly, results suggest that recent parental incarceration elevates the risk of early infant death by 29.6% for the average infant in the sample. Taken together, results show that imprisonment may have consequences for population health and inequality in population health and should be considered when assessing variation in health across nations, states, neighborhoods, and individuals. (source)

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8. Social class and incarceration in the US

In the U.S. in 2004:

  • 28% of state and federal prisoners were unemployed in the month before their arrest. The national unemployment rate at the time was 5.5%. So the inmate rate was six times the national average.
  • 88% of state prisoners and 80% of federal prisoners had a high school education or less. The national average for adults (over 18 years of age) was half that – 48%. Inmates are twice the national average.
  • 70% of state and 58% of federal prisoners had an income of less than $2000 in the month prior to arrest. That means they had an annual income of less than $24000. Median personal income in 2004 was about $34,000. So about 2/3 of prisoners had incomes that were at least 1/3 below the median. By any reasonable measure (though not by unreasonable official measures) that is real poverty for households, and just scraping by for an individual. (source)

The criminal justice system in the U.S doesn’t only target people of color, but also poor people. Not surprising perhaps given the substantial overlap between these two groups.

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  16. GRMAYNAR says

    First of all I want to say some of my best friends are black and that I don’t care what color your skin is it’s all about what kind of person you are and how we get along. So with that I want to ask what I think everybody wants to know. Why are the statistics the way they are. There is racism in this country for sure unfortunately but the black on black crime rate is much higher than white on white crime and percentage wise white on black crime is very low. I understand about some of the tough living conditions in some black neighborhoods but nobody is making black people committ crimes against other black people. These are some extremely sad statistics but true. I wish they weren’t. Please tell me what should be done about it but it has to start with the parents. I will be looking for your comments

    • Les Mangum says

      why would you think that a person, regardless to the color of their skin, would discriminate by race. A drug addict will rob his own mother if he cant get access to anyone else. Black on black crimes are crimes of opportunity. White people live to far away to get robbed by blacks who would rob them, and they have much better police protection. I like your reseach and your willingness to wrestle with the problem, but the fact that you are well intentioned, discipline and helpful doesn’t negate your own subjectivity and potentional bias.

      • KC says

        Im white and middle class. We live 2 blocks from a getto were we raised 3 sons. None are drug users but they do drink some but never in my home.
        I live on the south side of my town along with many black,Latino and Mexican families. I believe the most violent crimes are not for money or theft but more about disrespecting one another and the brutality of domestic violence. People who live inside the drug/alcahol world are much more closer to death than us living beside it in my opinion. I see it all the time. I have no drug addicts or alcaholics in my home nor do I visit them but I do speak to them friendly. I know Im not better than they are because of our choices in life. Thats their world and I respect that. Now if we all could do that we all would live longer. Live and let live! People are so paranoid because the guy next door smokes grass…Thats the least of this countries worries these days.

    • In my own personal opinion, we have to actually look at how many of those arrests are wrongful. I’m African American myself and I agree whole-heartedly with you, but we caused the rate to go up by ourselves and dubb us with a certain perspective in society, but on the other society shouldn’t see it as a one show fits all way of thinking. How we can start to change it is to take a closer look at these arrests whether they are of profiling or if they are actually probable cause. In honesty I would rather live overseas because they live in harmony. A white friend of mine and puerto rican friend of mine went to Britain and they told me that they live in peace. A friend of mine and myself got into a heated argument over a black guy riding his bike, but he had tattoos and a muscle shirt on and he was in a dominantly white neighborhood. I had to take up for him. Yeah he probably didn’t fit in in that neighborhood but Give the guy benefit of the doubt. He has a way of thinking that he’s always right and because he “reads” makes it ok to prejudge someone. My point is we need to stop stop putting everyone in a category and stop being prejudice but also other races needs to put themselves in the other nationalities shoes. Thirdly, show then teach our kids and the future generation that it’s not okay to judge someone based on appearance or the malignant color of their skin. Because trust me I’ve lived in a neighborhood where I’ve been judge by skin color and pulled over or stopped with guns drawn in face. But like I said the ones before us put a stamp on African descent community and unless we ourselves can put a damper on black on black crime, I honestly don’t know a way to fix. In my opinion it’s going to take the act of God to do something about it

      • KC says

        The best way to get us in harmony my friend is close the bars and liquor stores the white man put on every corner in the black mans neighborhoods. This was done long ago to keep the blacks in chaos and break down the family. Its the governments way of keeping the black man home and drunk and out of the work place too. I believe its absolutely destroyed the first few generations of the black race. The drugs are doing a hell of a job on the last two. The first place to start is drugs/alcahol. It has to go if any of these stats are to ever change and white folks need to help with this too! Needless to say Im not going in first.
        Now can you see my white ass standing in front of a liquor store in the hood with a sign saying “save the black race, close this liquor store”…What an ass whoopin I’d recieve from all walks of life…lol Yep’ their third 40 trip my ass would be done. lmao

  17. Who are you? Where are you from? What inspired you to do this blog? Ok! let me say, I think P.A.P Blog is a Great on many level!!! I was finally ready to begin the journey of collecting data. and although there is many sites to choose. I clicked on yours. I have not gotten pass the homepage yet. but I look forward to navigating the whole site with unanticipated encouragement.

  18. I think I know the reason’s why African and Jewish descendants suffer from human- rights atrocities’ it would be a great blog too! Do you agree?

  19. On the subject of “black on black crimes”
    I don’t believe it starts only with the parents, but morals do!!! There is black on black, white on white and so on and so forth… These types of crimes, is partially due… that some people don’t have the healthy concern of life!!! Some are chemically handicapped, and some are motivated by greed. I believe that the biggest violators of life we will find usually begins at the top of governments and its’ agencies. Old saying are old because they have help true thru time. The one comes to my mind “feces’ rolls down hill” there are no isolated incidents’ there a so many crimes relating to the lack of concern for life, that some people believe it is better to be inhumane, emotions de-sensitized and adopt the at least 5 of the 7 deadly sins. They probably feel, they live in a world more dominated by greed, lies, deceptions, betrayals, jealousies, envies, hatreds, and adultery then deceit moral humans and that is saddening! So begins the crimes.
    Deceit moral parents are minimally effective at navigating their children away from crime and crime inhibitors. Unless, they take some strong engaging measures that will ensure their morals are maintained in the child and will not be so easily influenced away by a strong tempting undesirable behavior. For example, forbid television in the home or block every channel that supports a strong threat to the parents’ child-rearing plan. In-home schooling until high-school age.

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  25. Emily Garton says

    Thank you for giving some attention to this much too often ignored subject! It is absolutely disgusting that the U.S. imprisons so many citizens and only through more people learning about this issue will change ever come about. Policy must be changed so that we can put an end to this destructive cycle.

  26. The statistics tells the truth. The persons committing the crimes should pay the costs; however, if we put the color aside then we wouldn’t have any issues. I believe our world has gone to the extreme about showing partiality towards certain skin colored people because of their pasts. There are other nationalities that have a past and have moved to the US without expecting any compensation or recognition. Each individual should make their own choices, and live with them. I hope this world changes for the better for future generations.

  27. I seriously think that the US needs to stop playing games all the time when it comes to the legal system and be more forceful with the law. There have been plenty of crimes committed that would have usually received the Death Penalty but because people are so afraid of sending the wrong person to death, they haven’t been doing it lately. And because of that (and the endless luxuries in prison), the numbers of those going to jail is going up. Heck, people are doing stuff JUST to go to jail because you don’t have to worry about your next meal, health care, working and you don’t even pay taxes.

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  31. What these statistics allude to is the inequity in how people are accused and convicted of crime in the U.S. This inequity is caused by institutionalized racism. It is easy to say “Well if African Americans didn’t do the crime they wouldn’t do the time.” But what that assumes is a. Whites don’t commit crimes at a similar rate; and b. All of the African Americans convicted of their crimes actually committed them. Both of these notions are false and only further perpetuated a mindset that prevents us from seeing the true cause of these statistics.

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  34. Genius says

    This is great. Lock all the thugs up forever. Remind me never to live in a black neighborhood!

  35. Genius says

    The only thing better is if they’d bring back the “Ultimate Solution” for these criminals. Napolean Boneparte said “To punish less is to punish more severly.”

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  40. Funny how no matter how much one searches, finding out the actual ratio of men in prison vs women in prison in the U.S. in 2011 is impossible.

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  49. Listen to you, the convicted ones suppose to keep paying for what they ‘ve payed for while locked up for the rest of our lives, and it’s called jockstice…gtfoh with this slavering mentality which it was all built upon in the first place…… I’m foreign to this country and should listen to how u tell me to abide the so called laws and frenchkiss the mf’s who keep me feeling like i have no voice,bc i supposedly came here for opportunity and should appreciate the fact and assimilate successfully. yeaaaa right. why u fools allow for the LEGAL immigration to take the current shape, so now when the families try to reunite illegally, u want to pass laws equivalent to some Holocaust shyt. Like they have labels for “brown” people in arizona prison system. gtfoh. Georgia, one of the crackerest states now passed similar legislature to AZ on the id/i-verify/illegal employment,so how do we deal with this? we vote for those who say he supported amnesty, but yet, allows these laws to go in effect…… but i give it to Obama cabinet for fighting AZ officials ,but in that case the Fed was not constitutionally able to oppose the actions of the State itself. Something is terribly wrong with this country. We know it when Clayton county SHERRIFF IS mfckn locked up, then , yes , it’s clearly u fools have your blinder shades on and just gossip online and do nothing while riding with confederate flags in your faces on some bumpers, but u scared that cracker has shotgun in his pocket. Freedom of what? Why would u ever be so misled??????

  50. aka j says

    are you drunk or just having a hard time learning our language. all of your babbling makes absolutely no sense and is not based on any facts. i wasn’t born in the slavery era and i will not play any mind games thinking you should have more than the next person with less effort. check your typing before you start throwing the racial “cracker” name i know some racial titles also. Obama has done NOTHING to help our economy recover. if you do not like the country you have sworn an allegiance to (by continuing to live here) then you need to go somewhere else or shut the F*** UP. i WILL NOT pay the price for anything that was done before i was born, you need to GET OVER IT!!!!!

    • @aka j What?! your overall response doesn’t make sense. Has Obama changed anything? No (I agree with you). Did his leadership orchestrate Fast & Furious? Yes. Does someone have to leave the US if they don’t agree with the government?! As Jefferson would have said: “HELL NO!”. Actually some of what that founding father said:
      “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?”, “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”,
      “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
      “Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”
      You can’t have people in a rebellion if your misguided notion is to tell people to leave because they fail to agree. Think it through. PS I’m aiming at you because yeah what you were responding to was unintelligible. Although in their defence: If they have a criminal record, good luck moving to any country, I’m speaking as a Black man who has worked at a consulate.

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  54. héctor says

    My thoughts as a latino male and economics major at The University of Colorado in Boulder colorado are SIMPLE- Education Reform from K- 12!!!! Education from K-12 is payed for by property taxes but Black and Latino people have little money and thus have underfunded schools whi ch lead to high dropout rates for black and latino youth and consequently to crime and then prison. According to teach for America 99% of all underfunded k-12 schools are in black and latino neighborhoods. If we subsidiaze education from k-12 these youth wont dropout, get involved in crime and end up in prison; but instead go to college and become productive citizens!!

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  57. Eric says

    There has never been a multicultural society, or Empire in History that has been a success and the United States (in its degeneration) has now been made into one by Globalization (Banking and Corporate), Political appeasers (liars who claim whatever is in Washington D.C. is not completely corrupt and for its citizens) and the acceptance that the Family and Christianity are fair game to attack (What this country was founded on. Go study if you don’t believe me). I am not a racist, but this is something that needs to be dealt with, before a severe economic crisis, or complete collapse of this System leads to all of out desperation for most of the population, paving the path for the next Adolf Hitler, or Joseph Stalin with their political scapegoats (and these crime statistics are true! You know what I’m saying?). This Country has been turned upside down, however as foolish as we the people are, we land on our rear ends and can know no matter who you are, unless a damn fool, something is really wrong in America and it has not been right for a long time. Think about it this way. How long ago did segregation end? Border Wars, Muslim attacks, Gangster Rap (for those with children) and all the division that claims its the white man, or its those illegal immigrants-militant muslim’s and their Mosques-or black gangbanger’s? Hahahahahaha… You seeing this all? Check out this website and know Jesus’ love is everlasting. God Bless you all and may all Muslims know Jesus was more than a profit! Just ask him. Couldn’t leave that out ;)

  58. patricia willilam says

    Black on black crime is a big issue, and yes they do have a choice but what choices are really available to them that they believe applies to them. If someone lives in acommunity of violence or generations of violence then what decisions do you really think they’ll make. If you dont have knowledge and education your choices will be more limited to your own thinking and what you know. To answere the question on black on black crime, it is what they know and has grasped from life. Kill or be killed for the sake of honor, respect, or fear.

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  62. adownriverdiva says

    In America today Jesus would be arrested as a domestic terrorist, for treason and sedition, advocating the overthrow of the government, holding disorderly and illegal assemblies on the mount, improper preparation and food distribution without a permit, practicing medicine without a license, vandalism, destruction of private property and disorderly conduct for ousting the moneychangers from the temple, raising the dead without prior authorization, and driving a donkey while Black within city limits.
    Jesus would be tops on the crime hit list as a threat to national security and safety.
    And this is the same way Blacks are viewed by most white people.
    We are not considered equal, similar or even civilized by those who have the least contact with Blacks.
    Oh yes, there has been great progress since MLK, but also great opposition and an insidiously biased undercurrent of racism that has never let Blacks or other people of color live in this country in peace.
    Fear is the key factor in today’s racial atmosphere. Fox news TV and radio is a never ending barrage of hate and fear-mongering, lies and perversions and racial hate. Nearly everything said on here about Black people was first said on Fox news.
    A lie told enough times, with enough conviction, will be accepted as the truth. Especially if people don’t do the research on their own, for themselves.
    Everything most white people know about blacks came from TV. movies, and radio.
    Bill O’Reilly summed it up best when he had to eat at a diner in Harlem.
    He said he was surprised that the Black people in the diner ate with KNIVES AND FORKS! That overall, it was a quiet and civilized episode. He was surprised there wasn’t a shoot out.
    This from the man who has made it quite clear that he firmly believes that Blacks are inferior, ignorant and uncivilized, therefore unfit to be allowed freedom to roam the streets.
    Because of lies and deceptions of the past too many thought that the only good Indian was a dead Indian.
    Today, the lie is the only safe Black is an imprisoned Black, it’s good for the prison industry and allows Blacks a chance to provide jobs for guards.
    Black on Black crime is a red herring, not a problem.
    When we were kids back in the 60’s and intergration was in full swing, the Black and White kids knew that businesses distrusted the Black kids and would follow them all over the store, to make sure they didn’t steal. So while the shopkeepers were occupied watching the Black kids, the White kids were robbing the store blind. And we did this on purpose, we all shared in the goods when we came out of the stores. Yeah, we were all friends, it was a plan. The White kids could steal things right in front of them, but they were too busy watching us to notice. To all of us, it was payback for the bigotry and unfair treatment by the shopkeepers.
    And so it is today. Blacks don’t go on campus shooting sprees, or walk in a church and kill a bunch of people. We don’t drive a carload of our own kids into the river, escape but leave the kids and claim we don’t know how it happened.
    It’s truly sad that we all just stuck, and can’t progress because of lies, misconceptions and stereotypes after all these years.

    • Donna says

      I think you made a lot of really thoughtful points….but I ask you, why doesn’t the Black community in larger percentages take advantage of all the USA does offer. While we spend the most on incarceration, we spend the most on education, welfare and social programs and for what. Bill Cosby and Jessie Jackson in the 70’s and 80’s used to tell it like it is…..parents aren’t parenting and kids are running wild. I really had great hopes that Pres. Obama would enlighten the Black community and inspire the kids, but all I see is more entitlements and the victimization of the families. I grew up in the Chicago area in the 50’s during integration and was so hopeful that it would change things. To be really honest, the south side of Chicago was just a plain old slum….people didn’t take care of their houses, kids, it was a wreck. After hurricane Katrina, watching and listening to so many that were truly uneducated, not working, and just waiting for someone to take care of them was amazing to me… much money spent and no progress. But…… some people do what it takes, and get out and up….what makes the difference?

      I think it is good parenting and breaking the cycle of entitlements.

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  67. resquenazi says

    how many are in prison for no violent crime serving 10 to fifteen years for stupid thing
    we should put some of this judges making deals with prison owners and prosecutors in prison for a wild see how they see the world then

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  69. logical one says

    The bottom line I feel some people are born good and some bad no matter what race you are. Its very unfortunately that the black on black crime is bad in this world. Drugs play a very big role. Fast money, nice clothes ,nice cars. gold and the list goes on. Me and my siblings grew up in the same household same values and our children turned out different. I was more strict with my children that could be the reason. Also my children were raise in the hood but you wouldn’t know it. It’s not where you live its how you live. Children are going to be good or bad. People that commit crime are bad people with no regard for the next person. People need to realize we are not here to stay we’re just passing by. Do good sand good will follow you.

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  73. Q'junna Butler says

    Very imformational website. Congrats and great job to whomever did this report. It works great for my senior project and its astounding and sticking information.

  74. Sue Brown says

    This is very useful information. Thank you. With that being said, the numbers make it look like it’s a color/culture issue. However, given the fact that African-Americans only make up 12% of the U.S. population, people may be able to make better sense of these numbers.

  75. nharris says

    Inmate, 20, from Baltimore dies after severe prison beating

    A 20-year-old prison inmate from Baltimore found severely beaten in his prison cell in Cumberland and transferred to Maryland Shock Trauma Center on Monday has died from his injuries, according to his family and hospital officials.

    Jerod Pridget, of East Baltimore, was pronounced dead shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, said Cordedra Scott, his sister. Cindy Rivers, a Shock Trauma spokeswoman, confirmed Pridget’s death.

    Pridget had been serving an 18-month sentence in the Western Correctional Institution for drug and gun convictions. Corrections officials said he was found with “severe head trauma” in his cell just before noon Monday, and taken to a regional hospital before being transferred to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

    Officials said they have identified another inmate as a suspect in his beating and do not believe others were involved.

    Mark Vernarelli, a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said investigators “have physical evidence linking that suspect to the crime.”

    The suspect has not been identified.

    At Shock Trauma, Pridget was “unrecognizable” to his family due to a broken nose, broken jaw and severe swelling to his head, Scott said.

    She and her family demand to know more details about his attack, she said. They don’t understand how he was beaten so severely before someone intervened, she said.

    Although Pridget was “little and petite,” he was also “a fighter,” and the family does not believe one inmate could have caused so much damage, especially because Pridget had “no defensive wounds,” Scott said.

    “How could they possibly do that to him?” she said.

    Under Maryland law, the investigation into Pridget’s fatal beating will be taken over by Maryland State Police. Before his death, Pridget’s beating was being investigated by detectives within the state corrections department.

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  77. Thank you for the information although I find it very disheartening. I fear what it reflects is an out of sight out of mind mentality that is prevelant in the white middle class. We can ignore the problem because it’s not in our neighborhood hence it is “their” problem not ours. Sad!

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  80. Jordan Brewer says

    Most of the crimes we see come out of the inner cities, which have become breeding grounds for crime. One of the largest hotbeds for crime is Chicago, also one of the cities with the largest ban of firearms. However Chicago sees the most Firearm related homicides in the entire country every year. The number one cause for death of a young black male is homicide, why are those of you commenting blaming white people for ignoring the problem, Richard? I live in Gilbert, Arizona, I live no where near the inner city, nor poverty. I have been to such places, including South Africa, where the rich black population (in South Africa) lets their own race sit in boxes in the street, are they ignoring the problem, or simply don’t care, or do they have their own problems? Poverty is not middle white classes problem, its not middle black classes problem, its not upper classes any color problem, to be exact its has nothing to do with ethnicity. This problem is with the lower class population, do you have any solutions short of socialist “share the wealth” or to be more exact “rich smart people pay more than a fair share so more people can be lazy” plan?

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  87. wow look at all of those statistics I cant believe how muuch the rate of incaseration has risen over the last 20 years

  88. Mark says

    The reason why we want to abolish the death penalty is because it is society’s belief that each human deserves a life, a second-chance and that we are all equal. I’m sure you’ve come across points whereby someone has asked is the rapist just as important and worthy as the rape victim. I want go into these obvious points but I would like to share a statistic. The benefits of the death penalty

    The Costs Of Prisons

    £40,000 a year to incarcerate one inmate
    70,000 inmates
    40000 x 70000 = 2800000000

    Put down the re-offenders and you will have money to invest in deprived communities such as sports clubs, skills centres this is how you keep kids off the streets and give people the opportunities they want. These kids want a life, they want to succeed, the criminals don’t. Why are we paying for the protection, the accommodation and the healthcare for someone who chooses to damage society, has chosen to never contribute to society?

    The death penalty will make criminals think twice before destroying their victims life. Not all humans are equal. If you had rats in your beautiful green garden, would you house, nurse and protect them? Would you buy more land and chop more trees down in order to maintain the next generation of rats? You know at some point your garden isn’t going to be as beautiful as it once was, but your morals and your beliefs tell you that you should not exterminate these rats as they are just as important as you and I.

    Abolishing The Death Penalty

    Pros: Lifers get a chance to redeem themselves
    All humans are equal no one deserves to die no matter what they have done in life

    Cons: The planet has a limited amount of natural and financial resources. Use the resources we would otherwise use on re-offenders to invest in projects that will benefit society and the natural world.

    The natural world is more important than humans. If we destroy the eco-system to the brink of collapse, it cannot regenerate therefore many of us will die off. Prevent this with the money we so badly need to invest in protecting important areas of our planet.

    Lack of funds to aid poverty

    We cull deer in Britain because there are no natural predators. Deer graze the plant species therefore smaller species are declining.

    In order for one to thrive, the other must perish. That is the law of nature. Humans are thriving at the expense of the natural world. Take some pressure off and buy us more time.

    Advances in science and medicine is curing diseases and saving more people. What happens when we get to that point whereby there are more people than jobs as we see today. Invest the money in jobs and we will have a better future.

    “It costs £65,000 to imprison a person in this country once police, court costs and all the other steps are taken into account” Just 65,000 will save 1000 families in Africas poorest nations, 1 million species in Asia’s most deforested area.

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  90. Private prisons are big business in the United States. How’s that old saying go, that they ‘closed a school to open a prison’…

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  92. Smitty says

    Generations have come and gone. We can’t change the past. We can only effect those who realize life is to be cherished and reverance. I believe in the bible and those of us that stand on it know that things are going to get a lot worse before they can better. Man has bought de-generation and destruction on himself. It isn’t a race thing, it is the depravity of human nature. Should we give up? No! Is it all doom and gloom? No! We can’t afford to give up! We must interject as much positive change in the lives of those we have influence over, namely young people.
    Crime is crime! Black on Black! White on White! Yellow on Brown! The comments concerning parenting, and lack there of, are right on target. As families have gone by the wayside, so has morals, control, respect and love. And yes I am an African-American male. I bid you all peace and the love of Christ!!

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  94. Clay says

    I never thought that it would ever be safer to live in Cuba. Wow! What has happened to this country? We have become the dark empire. There was a time when a human being could live safely in this country, unless they committed a violent crime. Basically, all one had to do was be a normal person. Now, however, anyone can go to jail. And with the ramp up of the war on terror no one is safe anymore.

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  96. larry darkin says

    yea bro the white man put lica stow in my hood, keep me drunk and stupid. If it wonit b fo dat stow i wood do goood. dam sto make me do it. And the popo targets me cus my skin color, i red it in the constoosion, if yo skin be black popo gona get ya by the stow.

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  99. Truth is :
    All we have to do to end it all is start respecting and loving each other. We just cannot do it…Its a damn shame!

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  102. Kathy O says

    I really enjoyed this blog and everyone’s feedback. I live in a lower income area, but the way my county handles school taxes is that it pulls excess money from richer areas’ property taxes to give to my school district. Otherwise schools in my area would be in bad shape. It helps to keep all school districts more equal and kids from starting out disadvantaged.

    Another note I wanted to make is that last week I witnessed an elderly man in his 60s being found guilty in Philadelphia Municpal Court of his third strike for shop lifting six packs of batteries from Rite Aid. Shop lifting is considered a felony so this man went to jail for 5 years. In essence, the taxpayers are going to pay about $200,000 to keep this man in jail for stealing less than $200 worth of goods in all (unlike our Wall Street friends going unpunished for stealing trillions). Punishments are not fitting the crime which is indicative of the charts presented on this blog. I would personally rather have a social worker in the court system that could help this gentleman, rather than see him go too jail, He obviously really needed help.

    Another case I stumbled upon today is on where a guy served 20 years for something he swears he didn’t do, and Prosecution covered up evidence that would confirm his innocence. Missouri court already tried him twice for this crime, and they now want to try him a third time! Crazy story. Check it out at

    A Philadelphia judge was found guilty about two years ago of wrongfully sending children to detention centers because the detention center’s owner was paying the judge kickbacks for every child he sent their way. He’s finally in jail himself, where he belongs for a very long time.

    Another terrible offender of justice was The Philadelphia Traffic Court. Many of the judges have been indicted and the court was shut down this past year. This was all about the money. This court was so rigged it was maddening,

    Police are not proving their cases beyond a reasonable doubt, but juries and judges are still siding with victims for some reason. A lot of innocent people are falling through the cracks. Judges are also being told what sentences need to be doled out, even if they don’t agree with them as is the case with “the war on drugs” and “three strikes” mentioned in the blog.

    I would like everyone who reads this blog to do one thing that will help. Use your head if you are chosen to be on a jury. Go with what is right versus what someone tells you their definition of right is. We as jurors are put in place to ensure that the scales of justice are balanced and everyone is treated with fairness, even if it goes against a stupid law that was put in place but doesn’t make any sense. If it goes against the constitution, then it should be invalid anyway.

    Here’s to getting the prison population numbers down to a reasonable level!

  103. I live in the UK, I am white (if that makes any difference to anyone). I see a lot coloured people in America describing themselves as “African American”. Why is this? Isn’t everyone in America just “American”. I don’t hear anyone saying they are “European American” or “Asian American”. Is it possible that some parts of American society are just carrying a big chip on their shoulder and helping discrimination by categorizing themselves? I find it difficult to believe that judges send more black people than white to prison because of skin colour. That is just ridiculous. Especially at the rates shown here. Why can’t everyone in America just be American regardless of race, creed or colour. Sort that out and you may be on the road to recovery.

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  105. Kathy O says

    Hi Scott. I guess I could be referred to as German/Irish American as they are my roots. There is definitely a war on the poor going on here in the United States right now. Many of our prisons have been privatized and shares are being bought and sold on Wall Street (the root of all evil). It comes down to money and if prisons aren’t being filled, money is lost, stock prices fall, and stockholders lose. Companies have a judiciary responsibility to their stockholders to make money, no matter was the cost. This is the downside of capitalism. So how do they ensure that prisons remain full – put “3 strikes rule” in place and create a “war on drugs” campaign that creates mandatory minimum sentences that even our local judges cannot override.

    There truly is a huge disparity between the percentage of black population in jail compared to rest of U.S. population. I guess they found that just jailing the black population wasn’t filling their prisons, so they moved on to waging a war on our poorer population across the board. Meanwhile, nothing happens to while collar criminals beside being charged a small fine civilly – just a slap on the wrist.

    That is why President Obama wants to overhaul the mandatory minimum sentences. Really needs to be done, and quickly. Surprising fact I read while researching this issue was that in Philadelphia, 43% of our prison population is there awaiting trial. They seem to wait until after arraignment hearing to conduct investigation, so how many of these prisoners are actually innocent??? This is a staggering number!

  106. Scott sadly you are so mistaken. Just because you do not believe we are incarcerated simply due to the color of our skin does not mean that we have a chip on our shoulder or we are lying. millions of us telling you it is true should cause you to reason with that logically. Here is a website that have documentaries that may help your heart learn the truth if you seek to know the truth

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  108. Sam says

    As I said, unless drugs & alcohol are tossed aside then violence will remain. Sure theres people inside that never touched it while outside but most have. Either they got drunk and shot a friend or family member by accident or needed a fix and robbed someone. Most were drunk!! I lived in prison right outside Gary In. when it was murder capital of the world in the 80’s. I lived inside for 4 yrs so I know how many young men/women black,mexican & white that are there who had never been in trouble but face life no because they killed someone. Most killed a freind.

    Saddest part is they have no recollection of the crime at all from being too intoxicated or on drugs. If you love your kids,freind or family member who’s drinking/drugging then get them help. If helping them is out of your hands at least dont enable them by loaning them money even for food. Make them pay for food and a roof because if you do it they have party money. Tell them you love them and to get help and then you’ll help them. We can only help those who help themselves period! It has to start from within. Ive been straight & trouble free {not even parking ticket} for over 20yrs & 90% of people who judge me havent lived up to that.
    Im re-married and raised my 3 sons strict but fair. None have a record, they are 24,28 & 31 yrs old. I only had to spank the eldest, only one time. He was about 11 and after taking his toys, nintindo then his bike for talking back to his mother he had only one thing left. “I said I’m going to spank you” he said “I dont care” So I had to spank him, because I never had, he didnt think I would? He recieved 2 swats and he appaligized to mom. That was that, he never acted up again and always told my other boys “Dad will whip your ass”…lol
    Also, as hard as it is to think of doing, Do Not Bail Your Kid Or Freind Out Of Jail The First Day! Let him set in there and think about it a few days. Just hope they learn the hard lesson in county jail & not inside a prison doing yrs for killing someone while drunk during a black out. It only has to happen once to ruin everyones lives.

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  110. Heya! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but I had to ask.

    Does running a well-established blog such as yours take a large amount of work?
    I’m completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary
    daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations
    or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

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  113. A most interesting blog. Thank you for sharing. I was surprised no one has discussed prison reform. I have worked in the public mental health sector for years and see the vicious cycle of homelessness leading to petty crimes, drug and alcohol use and dealing, followed by incarceration and commitment to mental hospitals. Because our school systems fail underprivileged children, they are not equipped to become responsible, productive citizens, so must resort to desperate measures to survive. Once they have a record, it is almost impossible to land a decent job.

    As much as we all pay to support public education, I would think we could get better value for our taxpayer dollars. Teachers are strait-jacketed with rules and requirements, standardized testing, and bureaucratic-government oversight that distracts from their primary job of imparting practical skills to their students.

    At least in prison, these under-educated people have “three hots and a cot” which they may never have had before. It could be an opportunity to acquire skills, like reading and writing, that they missed in school, perhaps to learn job skills, or otherwise re-configure their lives. Frightened and desperate people are the most dangerous. They are not necessarily evil but probably had few role models that could show them how to function in society.

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