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Updated Department of Justice Criminal Records Statistics

Posted in News Articles on 02/06/2009

Are you checking your applicants’ criminal backgrounds as thoroughly as possible to help protect your company from a negligent hiring lawsuit?  Here are some updated statistics from the United States Department of Justice.

  • Almost nine out of every ten jail inmates were adult males.
  • Prisoners convicted of a violent offense make up over half of the prison population
  • The number of adults convicted of a felony in State courts has been increasing.
  • Over two thirds of the felons convicted in State courts were sentenced to prison or jail.
  • At midyear 2007, 780,581 inmates were held in the nation’s local jails, up from 766,010 at midyear 2006.
  • In 2007, jails reported adding 15,502 beds during the previous 12 months, bringing the total rated capacity to 813,502.
  • 96% of the rated capacity was occupied at midyear 2007.
  • Over the past 10 years, the number of jail inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents rose from 193 to 259.
  • The estimated number of arrests for drug abuse violations for adults has been increasing, while the number for juveniles stabilized.
  • Two-thirds of felony defendants were charged with a drug or property offense.
  • Up to 16% of at-risk parolees in some agencies were re-incarcerated for a failed drug test.
  • About 68% of all murders, 42% of all robberies, and 22% of all aggravated assaults that were reported to the police were committed with a firearm
  • More than three-fourths of felony defendants had a prior arrest history, with 53% having at least five prior arrest charges.
  • Fifty-seven percent of felony defendants received a pretrial release prior to adjudication.
  • Over the past 15 years the number of felony convictions increased 24% in State courts.
  • Over the past 15 years, the conviction rate for violent crimes has risen.
  • Seventy percent of those convicted were sentenced to incarceration.
  • Sixty-two percent of defendants charged with a felony in the 75 most populated counties were released from jail pending disposition of their case.
  • Thirty-three percent of those who were released were rearrested for a new offense, failed to appear in court, or violated some other condition of their pretrial release.
  • Five state agencies accounted for about half of the adults under parole supervision in the past three years:  Departments of Corrections in California (125,067 adults on parole); Texas (101,175); and Illinois (33,354); and two independent agencies, New York (53,215) and Pennsylvania (24,956, excluding adults supervised by county parole offices).
  • Half of parole supervising agencies had a role in releasing prisoners to parole, setting the conditions of supervision, or conducting revocation hearings.
  • The total rated capacity of local jails at midyear 2007 reached 813,502 beds, up from an estimated 677,787 beds at midyear 2000.
  • At midyear 2007, jail jurisdictions (173) with an average daily jail population of 1,000 or more inmates accounted for about 6% of all jail jurisdictions and about 52% of the jail inmate population.
  • At midyear 2007, the 50 largest jail jurisdictions held about 29% (or 227,901 inmates) of the nation’s jail population.
  • During the past two years the number of women in prison increased by 4.5%, reaching 112,498 prisoners.
  • About 96% of prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction (or 1,502,179 prisoners) were sentenced to more than 1 year in prison.
  • A total of 113,791 State and Federal prisoners were held in privately operated facilities at yearend 2006.
  • The number of adult men and women in the United States who were being supervised on probation or parole at the end of 2006 reached 5,035,225. In 2006 the combined probation and parole populations grew by 1.8% or 87,852 persons.
  • More than 8 in 10 offenders under community supervision were on probation at yearend 2006. During 2006 the probation population grew by 1.7% which represented an increase of 70,266 probationers.
  • At yearend 2006 a total of 798,202 adult men and women were on parole or mandatory conditional release following a prison term. The population grew by 17,586 parolees during the year or 2.3%.

Are you interested in strengthening your criminal records searches for your company’s background checks?  Contact BackTrack at 800-991-9694 for additional information.