DOJ Report Highlights Increase in Jail Population to Pre-Pandemic Levels and Continued Systemic Issues

A report from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that, as of midyear 2022, while at least 30 percent (or 197,000 people) of the jail population was convicted, at least 69 percent (or 466,100 people) in jail were not convicted of anything, Jaclyn Diaz reports for NPR. And, although the jail population declined during the pandemic, by midyear 2022 it was back to 90 percent of its midyear 2019 size.

The report also showed that from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, people booked in jail spent an average of 32 days in custody before getting released, longer than the 23-day average a decade prior. Older adults, defined by the report as at least 65, represented a major increase in individuals incarcerated in jails, according to the data. In addition, the jail incarceration rate for Black Americans was 3.4 times the rate for white Americans at the midyear point of 2022. The number of people in jail who were Black increased 6 percent (up 13,700 inmates) from 2021 to 2022, accounting for more than 50 percent of the jail population increase during this period

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