Prison Population Exceeds One Million In The U.S. - 10/27/1994

US History |


Today in history, the United States Justice Department, Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report that shows the number of incarcerated people in the U.S. prison system has exceeded one million for the first time ever in American history. The number is the combination of prisoners in both state and federal prisons, which did not include those that were locked in local jails for short periods. The number doubled the prison population of 1984, making U.S. the second country in the world with the highest rate of incarceration after Russia.

According to report, the number of individuals behind bars at the end of June 1994 was approximately 1,012,851 men and women who were locked up in both federal and state prisons, while another estimated 500,000 prisoners were reported to be held for a short period in local prisons. State prisons accounted for 919,143 inmates, while 93,708 were held in federal prisons. This is a result of government strict laws on crimes during Bill Clinton's tenure as the President of United States of America. It was reported that most increase happened in state-runs prisons, however, study shows that under Clinton's tenure, the population of prisoners in federal jurisdiction soared.

Statistics shows that male accounted for the majority of prisoners held behind bars on cases that were drug-related, with the number of African American exceeding those of other American race. It was reported that African Americans accounted for more than half of the nation's prisoners, while in reality, they made up of only 13% of the overall U.S. population. In addition, out of the 2,890 prisoners under death sentence in 1994, African Americans accounted for 42 percent of the prisoners.

According to report, the states with the lowest prisoner rate include North Dakota, with 75 per 100,000 residents, Minnesota (100 per 100,000 residents), West Virginia (106 per 100,000 residents) and Maine with (113 per 100,000 residents respectively). States with the highest number were Texas with (545 per 100,000 residents), Louisiana (514 per 100,000 residents), South Carolina (504 per 100,000 residents) and Oklahoma (501 per 100,000 residents accordingly). In addition, the report did not include the estimated 500,000 individuals in jails probably awaiting trial or held for a short period." Almost half of the growth in the U.S. prison system over the last 20 years is a result of people entering prisons on drug-related violations," says Allen Beck, deputy associate director of the Bureau of Statistics.

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Amanda Miller

Contributor & Chief Coffee Maker

Being from San Diego I have always gone to the Ocean and wrote my thoughts onto paper. Since a young girl writing has been my passion and now I love being creative with what I love. In school I started early writing for my middle school paper and have learned so much since then. I now have an opportunity to do what I love and work from home every day you can't beat it. I look forward to writing some great content for you all and to see the feedback I get in the process. My favorite topic is positive stories showing people helping others.