Bureau of Justice Statistics Releases 2014 Community Supervision Data

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The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released its annual community supervision report, “Probation and Parole in the United States, 2014” on Nov. 19, 2015. The BJS belongs to the Office of Justice Programs, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, and is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BJS was established in 1979 with a mission of collecting, analyzing, publishing and disseminating data related to crime and the functioning of the criminal justice system at all levels. It is the main source for these types of statistics in the United States. (The 2014 report was written by BJS statisticians Danielle Kaeble, Laura M. Maruschak and Thomas P. Bonczar.)

 

Core Findings

The BJS highlights the trend of decline in the overall community supervision population for the seventh year in a row. Annual decreases from 2008-2014 ranged between 0.5 and 2.6 percent, representing a total loss of 400,000 participating offenders. The 2014 decrease comes in at 1.0 percent, representing 45,300 individuals. At the end of 2014 approximately one out of 52 U.S. adults was under some form of community supervision, representing 4.7 million adults.

 

This is a significant change in corrections, down from the one in 33 figure the Pew Center estimated for Americans involved in the criminal justice system in recent years. More importantly for communities, it highlights the value of local community-based correctional programs, including the use of electronic monitoring and reentry programs designed to reduce recidivism. BI’s EM programs have continued to grow in support of agency demand, and reentry programs continue to flourish nationwide as agency’s seek to prepare inmates, parolees and probationers for successful community life.

 

Probation Findings: Total 3,864,100 offenders

(Probation: community-based correctional supervision, usually an alternative to incarceration.)

 

  • Probationers represented 82 percent of the community supervision population.
  • The probation population fell by one percent from previous year.
  • From year-end 2007, the probation population fell by 10 percent, a decrease of 46,500.
  • Gender breakdown: 25 percent female, an increase of 22 percent from 2013.
  • Racial and ethnic breakdown: 54 percent white, 30 percent black, 13 percent Hispanic.
    • Similar to rates from the year 2000.
  • The incarceration rate for offenders at risk of violating the conditions of their supervision remained steady from the previous year.
    • Relatively stable since 2000, ranging between 4.5 and 6.0 percent annually.
  • From 2000-2014, the percentage of probationers under supervision for a felony offense increased from 50 to 56 percent.

 

Parole Findings: Total 865,900 offenders

(Parole: conditional, supervised release in the community following incarceration.)

 

  • The parole population increased 0.2 percent from the previous year.
  • From year-end 2007, the parole population increased four percent.
  • Among parolees at risk for reincarceration, approximately nine percent were incarcerated, remaining steady from previous year.
    • Rate, while fluctuating slightly, has declined overall since 2000.
  • Drug offenses and violent crimes each represent 31 percent, 22 percent property offenses
  • Gender breakdown: 88 percent male
  • Racial and Ethnic breakdown: 43 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic.
    • 21 percent decrease for Hispanics since 2000
    • Increase from 38 percent to 43 percent for whites since 2000
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