Introduction

In December of 2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) – an arm of the Justice Department – released a report that said the United States saw a decrease in its correctional population (on probation, parole, in prison or jail) for the fourth consecutive year in 2012. Specifically, the report says that at year’s end about 6.94 million Americans were under the watch of our correctional system. That equates to 1 in 35 adults.

While this decrease is encouraging and shows that the amount of criminal behavior is declining, correctional facilities still had about 2.3 million inmates within their walls at the end of 2012 – 744,500 located in local jails, 217,800 in federal facilities and roughly 1.35 million in state prisons, the report says.

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