Image charts the incarcerated populations in federal prisons, state prisons, and local jails from 1925 to 2015. The state prison and jail populations grew exponentially in the 1980s and 1990s, and began to decline slowly after 2008, while federal prison populations show less change over time.

Data Source: Compiled from multiple Bureau of Justice Statistics data sets. See our blog post about the data. (Graph: Wendy Sawyer, 2016)

This graph originally appeared in Data update: Incarcerated population inching down.

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