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Prison Population by State 2020

The United States has the highest incarceration number in the world. This is despite the nationwide incarceration rate being at its lowest in 20 years. About 25% of the world’s total prison population is in the United States, which currently holds over 2.1 million prisoners.

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 698 prisoners per 100,000 people. This is the highest rate in the world. 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. Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Minnesota have the lowest imprisonment rates in the U.S. at under 200 per 100,000 people.

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

  1. Texas - 157,584
  2. California - 129,920
  3. Florida - 98,504
  4. Georgia - 53,094
  5. Ohio - 51,478
  6. New York - 49,360
  7. Pennsylvania - 48,074
  8. Illinois - 41,427
  9. Arizona - 40,263
  10. Michigan - 39,666

In terms of imprisonment rate per 100,000 people, Louisiana and Oklahoma have the highest rates at 719 and 704, respectively.

Here are the 10 states with the highest prison rates:

  1. Louisiana (719 per 100k)
  2. Oklahoma (704 per 100k)
  3. Mississippi (619 per 100k)
  4. Arkansas (598 per 100k)
  5. Arizona (569 per 100k)
  6. Texas (553 per 100k)
  7. Missouri (532 per 100k)
  8. Kentucky (527 per 100k)
  9. Georgia (506 per 100k)
  10. Alabama (486 per 100k)

Prison Population by State 2020

Prison Population by State 2020

State Imprisonment Rate (per 100K) Total Prison Population 2020 Pop.
Louisiana71933,7064,645,180
Oklahoma70427,7293,954,820
Mississippi61918,4712,989,260
Arkansas59818,0283,039,000
Arizona56940,2637,378,490
Texas553157,58429,472,300
Missouri53232,5926,169,270
Kentucky52723,5394,499,690
Georgia50653,09410,736,100
Alabama48623,7244,908,620
Florida46698,50421,993,000
South Dakota4533,959903,027
Nevada45113,6713,139,660
Idaho4477,7521,826,160
Ohio44151,47811,747,700
Virginia43737,1588,626,210
Wyoming4292,473567,025
Tennessee42928,9806,897,580
Delaware4204,066982,895
Michigan39739,66610,045,000
West Virginia3927,0921,778,070
Wisconsin39122,6825,851,750
Indiana38926,0016,745,350
South Carolina38619,5415,210,100
Pennsylvania37548,07412,820,900
Oregon36415,2004,301,090
Colorado35119,8245,845,530
Montana3503,6981,086,760
New Mexico3447,1892,096,640
North Carolina34135,28310,611,900
Kansas3329,6872,910,360
California328129,92039,937,500
Illinois32441,42712,659,700
Maryland31719,2326,083,120
Iowa2858,9993,179,850
Nebraska2735,2571,952,570
Connecticut2689,6263,563,080
Washington26219,5407,797,100
Alaska2581,905734,002
New York24949,36019,440,500
Hawaii2403,4251,412,690
North Dakota2261,711761,723
New Jersey21719,5858,936,570
Utah2066,4373,282,120
New Hampshire2042,7501,371,250
Minnesota19110,7085,700,670
Vermont1801,126628,061
Rhode Island1701,8081,056,160
Maine1341,7951,345,790
Massachusetts1208,2866,976,600