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Prison Population by State 2021

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This is despite the national incarceration rate being at its lowest in 20 years. About 25% of the world’s total prison population is in the United States, which holds about 2.19 million prisoners as of 2019 (1.38 million in federal and state prisons, 745,200 in jails).

Mass incarceration in the United States has led to several problems. Among these are overcrowded prisons, which lead to increased health risks and decreased psychological well-being.

Additionally, the increasing number of prisoners puts a major strain on state budgets. State prisons spend as high as $69,355 per inmate (the average cost of an inmate in New York). Prisons control and administer all aspects of life for inmates, resulting in a long list of costly necessities. Costs include food, recreational activities, educational opportunities, adequate security, utility costs, infrastructure maintenance, and health care.

Mass incarceration in the United States is a civil rights issue. Many argue that incarceration dehumanizes poor people and minorities, damaging already marginalized communities, and does not increase public safety. Additionally, high recidivism rates show that incarceration is ineffective and harmful to offenders, their families, the victims, and law enforcement if an offender does time without proper counseling and assimilation back into their community. Many prisoners have difficulty reestablishing relationships, finding jobs, and staying away from criminal activity after being released.

The United States has about 437 prisoners per 100,000 people as of the end of 2019, a 2.6% drop from 2018. As of 2018, the imprisonment rate of black males was 5.8 times greater than that of white males, and the imprisonment rate of black females was 1.8 times greater than the of white females. New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts have the lowest prison incarceration rates of under 200 per 100,000 people.

The ten states with the highest prison populations in the country are:

  1. Texas - 154,479
  2. California - 122,417
  3. Florida - 96,009
  4. Georgia - 54,113
  5. Ohio - 50,338
  6. Pennsylvania - 45,485
  7. New York - 43,439
  8. Arizona - 40,951
  9. Illinois - 38,259
  10. Michigan - 38,053

In terms of imprisonment rate per 100,000 people, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi have the highest rates, 680, 639, and 636, respectively.

Here are the 10 states with the highest prison rates:

  1. Louisiana (728 per 100k)
  2. Oklahoma (695 per 100k)
  3. Mississippi (623 per 100k)
  4. Arkansas (594 per 100k)
  5. Arizona (535 per 100k)
  6. Texas (530 per 100k)
  7. Missouri (528 per 100k)
  8. Kentucky (525 per 100k)
  9. Georgia (490 per 100k)
  10. Alabama (481 per 100k)

Prison Population by State 2021

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Prison Population by State 2021

State Imprisonment Rate (per 100K) Total Prison Population 2021 Pop.
Louisiana72833,7064,627,000
Oklahoma69527,7293,990,440
Mississippi62318,4712,966,410
Arkansas59418,0283,033,950
Arizona53540,2637,520,100
Texas530157,58429,730,300
Missouri52832,5926,169,040
Kentucky52523,5394,480,710
Georgia49053,09410,830,000
Alabama48123,7244,934,190
Florida44998,50421,944,600
South Dakota4423,959896,581
Ohio43951,47811,714,600
Virginia43237,1588,603,980
Nevada42913,6713,185,790
Wyoming4262,473581,075
Tennessee41728,9806,944,260
Idaho4177,7521,860,120
Delaware4114,066990,334
West Virginia4017,0921,767,860
Michigan39739,6669,992,430
Wisconsin38822,6825,852,490
Indiana38226,0016,805,660
Pennsylvania37548,07412,804,100
South Carolina37019,5415,277,830
Oregon35415,2004,289,440
New Mexico3427,1892,105,000
Montana3413,6981,085,000
Colorado33619,8245,893,630
Kansas3329,6872,917,220
North Carolina33035,28310,701,000
Illinois33041,42712,569,300
California328129,92039,613,500
Maryland31719,2326,065,440
Iowa2848,9993,167,970
Connecticut2719,6263,552,820
Nebraska2695,2571,952,000
Alaska2631,905724,357
New York25649,36019,300,000
Washington25119,5407,796,940
Hawaii2443,4251,406,430
North Dakota2221,711770,026
New Jersey22119,5858,874,520
New Hampshire2002,7501,372,200
Utah1946,4373,310,770
Minnesota18810,7085,706,400
Vermont1811,126623,251
Rhode Island1701,8081,061,510
Maine1331,7951,354,520
Massachusetts1208,2866,912,240

Prison Population by State 2021