New report, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2015, reveals 2.3 million people are locked up in the U.S. and why

U.S. locks up more than 2.3 million people in prisons, jails, and other facilities on any given day. New report provides foundation for long overdue conversation about criminal justice reform.

December 8, 2015


Bernadette Rabuy
brabuy [at]

Easthampton, MA — With 2.3 million people locked up in more than 7,000 correctional facilities operated by thousands of agencies, getting the big picture is anything but easy. Today, with the publication of Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2015, the Prison Policy Initiative provides the answer to how many people are locked up in the U.S., where, and why. Building upon our groundbreaking 2014 report that, for the first time, aggregated the disparate systems of confinement, this updated version contains further detail on why people are locked up:

pie chart showing the number of people locked up on a given day in the United States by facility type and the underlying offense using the newest data available in December 2015

As we discuss in our report, looking at the “whole pie” allows us to cut through the fog to answer key questions such as:

  • After state prisons, what is the next biggest slice of confinement?
  • How does the number of people that cycle through correctional facilities in a year differ from the number of people locked up on a particular day?
  • How important is it to ending mass incarceration that we reform the policies that increasingly detain people pretrial?
  • How many people nationwide are imprisoned because their most serious offense was a drug offense?
  • How does the number of people in correctional facilities compare to the even larger number of people on probation and parole?

Armed with the big picture, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2015, gives the public and policymakers the foundation to now consider the types of changes that would end the country’s reign as the number one incarcerator in the world.

The report is available at:


One response:

  1. Warden Bob Hood (Ret) says:

    The Whole Pie 2015 chart provides an outstanding snapshot of mass incarceration in America. The related posts also provides great articles on the subject. I am forwarding this material to wardens throughout the country who are participating in the Warden Exchange ( The need to reduce incarceration in America has never been greater.

    Bob Hood, Warden (Ret.)
    United States “Supermax” Penitentiary – Colorado

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