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Sentencing and Corrections - Probation And Parole

percent probationers inmates population

At the end of 2002 nearly 4.74 million adults were on probation or parole in the United States, up from 3.2 million at the end of 1990. The total number of probationers in 2002 was 3,995,165. Fifty percent were convicted of felonies, 49 percent of misdemeanors, and 1 percent of other types of infractions. Twenty-four percent of probationers had drug law violations as their most serious offense. (See Table 6.17.)

Of probationers in 2002, 23 percent were female, compared to 21 percent in 1995. Whites comprised 55 percent of probationers in 2002, a slight increase from 53 percent in 1995, while blacks accounted for 31 percent of probationers, the same percentage as in 1995. In 2002 probationers of Hispanic origin represented 12 percent of all probationers, down from 14 percent in 1995.

In 2002, 753,141 adults were on parole. Almost all offenders on parole (96 percent) had served a felony sentence of one year or more. More than half of parolees in 2002 received mandatory release from prison as the result of a sentencing statute (requirement) or because of good-time provisions. Thirty-nine percent received parole as the result of a decision by a state parole board, 59 percent fewer than in 1990. Fourteen percent of all parolees in 2002 were women, up from 10 percent in 1995. Thirty-nine percent of adult parolees were white, 42 percent were black, with Hispanics making up 18 percent of parolees. (See Table 6.18.)

TABLE 6.14
Inmates receiving mental health treatment in state confinement facilities, by facility characteristic, June 30, 2000

Number of inmates receiving—
24-hour mental health care Therapy/counseling Psychotropic medications
Facility characteristic Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total1 16,986 1.8% 122,376 12.9% 95,114 9.8%
Facility operation
Public 16,270 1.8% 116,296 13.0% 90,721 10.0%
Private 716 1.3 6,080 10.8 4,393 7.7
Authority to house
Males only 13,064 1.5% 100,371 11.9% 74,736 8.7%
Females only 830 1.5 14,744 27.1 12,119 22.1
Both 3,092 5.9 7,261 14.3 8,259 15.2
Security level
Maximum/high 6,928 2.4% 44,637 14.9% 35,069 11.5%
Medium 9,608 1.8 65,726 12.6 52,208 9.8
Minimum/low 448 0.4 11,593 9.3 7,355 5.8
Facility size2
1,500 or more 6,298 1.4% 59,970 12.8% 45,283 9.3%
750-1,499 5,140 1.6 41,953 13.0 31,816 9.9
250-749 4,582 3.5 16,831 13.4 14,866 11.6
100-249 888 3.3 3,309 12.4 2,867 10.9
Fewer than 100 78 2.3 313 11.0 282 8.8
1Excludes inmates in mental health treatment in Florida for whom only statewide totals were reported.
2Based on the average daily population between July 1, 1999, and June 30, 2000.
SOURCE: Allen J. Beck and Laura M. Maruschak, Table 4: "Inmates Receiving Mental Health Treatment in State Confinement Facilities, by Facility Characteristic, June 30, 2000," in Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Mental Health Treatment in State Prisons, 2000, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Washington, DC, July 2001

TABLE 6.15
Educational attainment of state and federal prison inmates, 1997 and 1991; local jail inmates, 1996 and 1989; probationers, 1995; and the general population, 1997

Prison inmates
State Federal Local jail inmates
Educational attainment 1997 1991 1997 1991 1996 1989 Probationers General population
8th grade or less 14.2% 14.3% 12.0% 11.0% 13.1% 15.6% 8.4% 7.2%
Some high school 25.5 26.9 14.5 12.3 33.4 38.2 22.2 11.2
GED* 28.5 24.6 22.7 22.6 14.1 9.2 11.0
High school diploma 20.5 21.8 27.0 25.9 25.9 24.0 34.8 33.2
Postsecondary/some college 9.0 10.1 15.8 18.8 10.3 10.3 18.8 26.4
College graduate or more 2.4 2.3 8.1 9.3 3.2 2.8 4.8 22.0
Number 1,055,495 706,173 88,705 53,677 503,599 393,111 2,029,866 192,352,084
Note: Probationers have been excluded from the general population. General population includes the noninstitutional population 18 or older. Detail may not add to 100% due to rounding.
*General Educational Development certificate.
…Not available in the Current Population Survey.
SOURCE: Caroline Wolf Harlow, "Table 1: Educational Attainment for State and Federal Prison Inmates, 1997 and 1991, Local Jail Inmates, 1996 and 1989, Probationers, 1995, and the General Population, 1997," in "Education and Correctional Populations," Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, January 2003

Federal Clemency

The U.S. president is authorized under the constitution to grant pardons and commutations to those convicted of federal crimes. The U.S. Pardon Attorney evaluates all applications, investigates the cases, and makes recommendations. A pardon occurs after an individual has served his sentence and allows that person to regain any civil rights and trade or professional licenses he or she may have lost due to being a felon. A commutation reduces the prison time of an individual now serving his or her sentence. Between 1953 and 2002 there have been 5,275 pardons granted and 585 commutations. (See Table 6.19.)

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