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Record number of U.S. adults under correctional supervision

August 14, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The number of U.S. adults in jail, on probation or on parole reached an all-time high of 5.5 million in 1996, the Justice Department reported Thursday.

That number is up from 5.3 million reported in 1995 and represents 2.8 percent of the adult population, according to department figures.

By the end of last year, 1.1 million adults were in prison, up 4.7 percent from 1995; more than 510,000 were in jail, up 2.2 percent; 3.1 million were on probation, up 3.3 percent; and more than 700,000 were on parole, an increase of 3.7 percent.

When compared to statistics compiled from 1985, however, the difference is far more stark: The number of adults in prison has jumped 131 percent; the number in jail, 100 percent; on parole, 134 percent; and the number on probation was up 61 percent.

Nationwide, 21 percent of all probationers and 11 percent of all parolees in 1996 were women _ up 18 percent and 8 percent, respectively, from 1990, the closest comparison the department provided.

Two-thirds of probationers and half of parolees were white, while the remainder _ minus 1 percent _ were black.

More than half the adults on probation and 96 percent of those paroled had served a felony sentence.

Texas saw the largest number of adults on probation and parole with more than 538,000. California was a distant second with 389,000.

Fourteen states reported that less than 1 percent of their population was under supervision, with West Virginia boasting the lowest numbers.

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