Below are several data points that offers context for the discussions in October. The primary source is National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) Facts & Trends , which summarizes the latest data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Most sources refer to year-end 2015. Sources for local data are footnoted.
- 6.7 million – Individuals were supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States at year-end 2015. The population decreased 1.7 percent during 2015, dropping below 6.8 million for the first time since 2002. (For a visual on how the number of individuals in prison breaks out, explore the March 2017 graphic from the Prison Policy Institute. Click on the graphic to navigate to the full article. )
2.2 million – Individuals in federal, state, and local corrections facilities
4.7 million – Individuals on probation or parole
- 700,000 – Individuals sentenced to state and federal prison that were released to their communities.
- 9 million – Individuals released from jail each year.
POPULATION: Westchester County
- 4,800 – Individuals in the County jail during 2016; the average monthly jail population in 2016 was 1,0501
- 11,284 – Individuals on probation in 2016 2
- 1,800 Individuals on parole in 2016 3
- Families – Parents with minor children make up 54 percent of people incarcerated in prisons and jails, or 1.2 million people: more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers.
- Health Status – People in the criminal justice system experience chronic health conditions, infectious diseases, substance use disorders, and mental illnesses at much higher rates than the general population. In 2005, more than half of all people incarcerated in prisons and jails had a mental illness: 56 percent of state prisoners, 45 percent of federal prisoners, and 64 percent of jail inmates. Of those who had a mental illness, about three-quarters also had a co-occurring substance use disorder.
- Housing and Homelessness – In a 2008 study of the U.S. jail population in 2002, 15.3 percent had been homeless anytime the year before incarceration—up to 11.3 times the estimate for the general adult population. For those with a mental illness, the rates of homelessness are even higher—about 20 percent.
About 10 percent of people entering state and federal prison had recently been homeless, and at least the same percentage of those who leave prison are homeless for some period of time after release.
- Education – Only about half of incarcerated adults have a high school degree or its equivalent.
- Employment – Employment rates and earning histories of people in prison and jail are often low before incarceration as a result of limited education, low job skill levels, and the prevalence of physical and mental health problems; incarceration only exacerbates these challenges. A three-state recidivism study conducted from 2001 to 2006 found that less than half of people released from prison had secured a job upon their return to the community.
- In a study that followed 404,638 people released from state prisons in 30 states in 2005, 67.8 percent were arrested within 3 years of release, and 76.6 percent within 5 years of release.
Sources other than NRRC
1 Westchester County Department of Corrections, August 2017
2 Westchester County Department of Probation, August 2017
3 New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Fact Sheet, August 2017