People in Jail and Prison in 2022

People in prison 2022 786x786


Between 2019 and 2020, the number and rate of people incarcerated in county jails, state prisons, and federal prisons in the United States declined at an unprecedented pace. To provide the public with timely information on how jail and prison populations have changed since then, Vera collected data directly from a sample of local jails, state oversight agencies, state prison systems, and federal agencies. Vera researchers collected this data for multiple points in time throughout 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Key Takeaway

Data compiled by Vera for 2022 shows that most county jails and state and federal prisons have started to refill. However, some places have managed to maintain reductions in their populations of incarcerated people.

Publication Highlights

  • Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and local jails fell from 2.1 million in 2019 to 1.8 million at midyear 2020.

  • The increase in incarceration rates since then is mostly explained by more people being held in jails.

  • Prison population trajectories in fall 2022 differed dramatically between states, with some maintaining or furthering their decreases while others were refilling their prisons.

Key Facts