Number of People Serving Time in State and Federal Prisons in the US

"From yearend 2020 to yearend 2021, the number of persons under the jurisdiction of state or federal correctional authorities in the United States declined 1%, from 1,221,200 to 1,204,300. While the total number of persons held under the jurisdiction of state correctional authorities declined 2% during this period, the count of these persons in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) increased more than 3%. The number of persons sentenced to more than 1 year in state or federal prison decreased 2%, from 1,185,700 in 2020 to 1,163,700 in 2021 (figure 1). This decrease followed the 14% decline from 2019 to 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making the number of sentenced prisoners in 2021 the smallest in 25 years.

"States and the BOP admitted 297,600 persons to prison on new commitments in 2021, up 71,500 from 2020. The number of admissions to state prison increased almost 19% from 2020 to 2021, while admissions to federal prison grew 54%. The number of releases from prison declined 19% from 2020 to 2021 but still exceeded admissions by 22,700.

"The combined state and federal imprisonment rate at yearend 2021 was 350 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents. Imprisonment rates declined for both sexes and for all racial or ethnic groups from yearend 2020 to yearend 2021."


E. Ann Carson, PhD. Prisoners In 2021 - Statistical Tables. Washington, DC: US Dept of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, December 2022, NCJ305125.