Number of Adult Criminals Drops for 3rd Straight Year, Lowest Since 2000

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of adults behind bars, on parole or on probation in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level since 2000.

The Justice Department reports that just under 7 million adults were under some kind of supervision by federal, state or local corrections officers at the end of last year. That represents about 2.9 percent of adults in the U.S.

Last year, the number of people in jail, in prison or on parole or probation decreased by nearly 100,000, or 1.4 percent, the third straight year of decline.

About 70 percent of the people in the corrections system were on probation or parole, with the remainder locked up.

A professor of criminology says the decline is the mostly a result of lower crime rates. Northeastern University's James Alan Fox also notes a small increase in the number of people on parole, which he says reflects the impact of tight budgets and limited prison space.

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