TITLE

State and Federal Prisoners: Profiles of Inmate Characteristics in 1991 and 1997: GGD-00-117

PUB. DATE
May 2000
SOURCE
GAO Reports;5/24/2000, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Government Documents
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1990 and 1998 the rate of incarceration in American prisons rose from 292 to 461 sentenced inmates for every 100,000 residents. During that same period, the number of prisoners rose from about 774,000 to about 1,302,00--an average annual increase of 6.7 percent. This report analyzes survey data collected from prisoners by the Bureau on personal demographics, family background, criminal record, drug history, and participation in treatment by state and federal inmates in 1998 to determine any differences between state and federal inmates or by current offense type, race, or gender. GAO also compared 1991 and 1997 data to determine any changes in inmate profiles of state and federal prisoners or by offense type, race, or gender. In 1997, most state and federal prisoners were male, minority, and unmarried and employed in the month before arrest. Comparing 1991 and 1997, the primary change in personal demographics for state prisoners was their age?32 percent were more than 35 in 1991, compared with 42 percent in 1997. For federal prisoners, the most significant change was racial composition: in 1991, whites comprised 38 percent and blacks 30 percent of inmates, compared with 30 percent whites and 38 percent blacks in 1997. In comparing state prisoners with federal prisoners, one of the biggest differences was in the type of crime for which they were imprisoned. For example, drug offenders accounted for more than 60 percent of federal inmates in 1997 but only 20 percent of state inmates, while violent offenders accounted for 47 percent of state inmates compared with 15 percent of federal inmates in 1997.
ACCESSION #
18208429

 

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