Large Cities Drive Nationwide Jail Population Decline; Jails in Most Rural Counties Still Growing
Date:  11-15-2017

Local jails admit 20 times more people than prisons annually
From The Vera Institue of Justice:

In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the average daily jail population declined yet again, slightly, by 2.4 percent.

The Vera Institute of Justice’s recent report Out of Sight: The Growth of Jails in Rural America found that during the decade prior to 2013, jail populations had been on the decline in large urban counties, but rose steeply in rural counties. Newly released 2015 county-level data, which Vera has just added to its Incarceration Trends data tool, reveals that these trends continue: nearly nine-in-10 large urban counties experienced declines and, together, the jail population in the nation’s 61 large urban counties fell by 18,392 people between 2014 and 2015. That’s equivalent to emptying the Los Angeles County jails.

What the overall downward trend in the total U.S. jail population masks, however, are rising jail populations in 40 percent of suburban and small and midsized counties, and more than half of rural counties (See Figure 1, below). The jail population grew in 195 out of 482 suburban and small and midsized counties surveyed in 2015, while 156 of the 272 rural counties surveyed had more than 8,700 additional people in jail combined. While these jails are individually small, the growth in these places adds up. Continue reading >>>