Prisons - Prisons And Their Capacities
prisoners federal facilities capacity
The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducts a census of prisons at five-year intervals. As reported in Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2000 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, August 2003), 1,320 state prisons housed 1,101,202 inmates and eighty-four federal facilities housed 110,974—for a total count of 1,404 prisons and slightly more than 1.2 million prisoners. State prisons were up from 1,277 in 1995, and federal facilities had increased from a total of seventy-seven in 1995. At the state level, the biggest growth was in facilities labeled minimum security (16.4%), followed by medium-security facilities (14.6%); at the federal level, the increase was in the minimum-security category (up 42.1%). To the 1,404 state and federal prisons must be added 264 privately operated
|Annual increase in the number of prisoners|
|Average annual increase, 1995–2003||41,718||43,266||3.4%|
|Note: Counts based on comparable methods were used to calculate the annual increase and percent change.|
|*Change in the number of prisoners under state and federal jurisdiction.|
prisons with 93,077 inmates in 2000. When private prisons are added, the count of facilities in 2000 was 1,668.
Crowding in Prisons
From 1995 to 2003, the number of state and federal prisons increased, and capacity in the state-run or state-supervised prison system increased. Old prisons were replaced with new ones; more prisoners were housed in privately operated prisons; and additions to capacity at existing sites added new beds. In 1995 states operated their prisons at 14% above capacity. According to Prisoners in 2003, twenty-three states were operating at or above capacity. Federal capacity, already strained in 1995, decreased further. In the federal sector, prisons operated at 125% of capacity in 1995 and 139% of capacity in 2003.
What does crowding mean? The American Correctional Association guidelines, Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions, call for a standard cell area of sixty square feet and for inmates spending no more than ten hours per day in their cells (Lanham, MD: American Correctional Association, 2003). In many prisons, inmates are double-bunked in cells designed for one or sleep on mattresses in unheated prison gyms or on the floors of dayrooms, halls, or basements. Some are housed in tents; others share the same bunks at different times of the day. Crowding makes it more difficult to segregate violent from nonviolent prisoners and contributes to the spread of such communicable diseases as tuberculosis. Overcrowded conditions can also cause tension, which can lead to fights and injuries.
State and Federal Prisoners Held Elsewhere
IN PRIVATELY RUN PRISONS.
At the end of 2003 a total of 95,522 prisoners under the jurisdiction of federal and state correctional authorities were housed in private facilities. This was an increase from 90,542 in 2000 and accounted for 5.7% of all state inmates and 12.6% of federal prisoners.
While the number of state prisoners in private facilities dropped slightly (1.8%) from 2000 to 2003, the number of federal prisoners increased from 15,524 in 2000 to 21,865 in 2003, a jump of some 40%. The states with the highest percentage of prisoners under private management were New Mexico (44.2%), Alaska (30.6%), and Montana (29.3%). Twenty states had no prisoners in privately operated facilities.
IN LOCAL JAILS.
73,343 prisoners were housed in local jails in 2003, 1.9% of all federal prisoners and 5.4% of state prisoners. Louisiana, with 45.9% of its prisoners in jails rather than in prisons, led this category, followed by Tennessee (24.7%) and Kentucky (23.9%).