Incarceration in Local Jails and State Prisons

Since 1970, the rate of incarceration in America has expanded more than fourfold, and the United States leads the world in locking people up. Many places in America have begun to reduce their use of prisons and jails, but progress has been uneven. Although the number of people sent to state prisons and county jails from urban areas has decreased, that number has continued to rise in many rural places. Racial disparities in incarceration remain strikingly wide. Women constitute a rising number of those behind bars.

Total Number of People in County Jails and State Prisons, 2015
Explore your state's use of local jails and state prisons.


These fact sheets provide at-a-glance information about how many people are locked up in both state prisons and county jails and shows where the state stands on a variety of metrics, so that policymakers and the public can better determine where to target reforms.

In addition to calculating jail and prison incarceration trends, Vera researchers combined information about prisons and jails to produce a total incarceration ranking. For information on the data and methods used to create the fact sheets, see Data and Methods for State Fact Sheets.

Total Number of People in County Jails and State Prisons, 2015