Prisoners in 2021 – Statistical Tables

Second Chance Month
April 2023

Research & Statistics

Prisoners in 2021 – Statistical Tables

Prisoners in 2021 report cover

This report, from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics is the 96th in a series that began in 1926. It provides counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state, federal, and military correctional authorities in 2021 and includes findings on admissions, releases, and imprisonment rates. The report describes demographic and offense characteristics of state and federal prisoners. It also provides data on prisoners held under military jurisdiction.

Highlights in the report include:

  • The U.S. prison population was 1,204,300 at yearend 2021, a 1% decrease from 2020 (1,221,200) and a 25% decrease from 2011 (1,599,000).
  • Prison populations declined in 32 states from yearend 2020 to yearend 2021, after decreasing in 49 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) during the prior 12 months largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The BOP population increased by 5,200 persons (up 3%) from yearend 2020 to yearend 2021, while California's prison population increased by 1,000 (up 1%).
  • At yearend 2021, the imprisonment rate was 350 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents, down 2% from yearend 2020 and 29% from yearend 2011.

Access this report and supporting materials