Skip to main content

The Punishing Decade: Prison and Jail Estimates at the Millennium

As the century draws to a close, we can safely predict that America will end the 1990s by having put more people behind bars than in any other decade in our history. Throughout most of the century prior to 1980, the incarceration rate, and the raw number of people behind bars, has risen and fallen with wars, depressions, economic booms and busts, as well as with the rise and fall of the crime rate.



Keywords: Criminal Justice, Incarceration, Jail, Report

Posted in Criminal Justice (Adult)

JPI's work

Through a combination of groundbreaking research, communications strategies and technical assistance, we inform advocates, policymakers and the media about fair and effective approaches to justice and community well-being.

Learn more »


We envision a society with safe, equitable and healthy communities; just and effective solutions to social problems; and the use of incarceration only as a last resort. Please help us end the #IncarcerationGeneration with a generous contribution.

Contribute »

Sign up for our newsletter