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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

But now, more than ever, we need your help to put data & compassion into the conversation. Any gift you can make today will be matched by other donors and go twice as far.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Section I: Crime & Punishment in the U.S.

Crime

  • Percent of violent offenses that resulted in an emergency room visit72: 19%
  • Percent of state felony convictions that were for violent offenses, 199673: 16.8%
  • Percent of state felony convictions that were for murder, 199674: 0.9%
  • Percent of state felony convictions that were for rape, 199675: 1.4%
  • Percent of state felony convictions that were for property offenses, 199676: 29.9%
  • Percent of state felony convictions that were for drug offenses (all), 199677: 34.8%
  • Percent of state felony convictions that were for drug possession, 199678: 13.6%
  • Percent of state felony convictions that were for weapons offenses, 199679: 3.3%
  • Percent of all crimes reported to the police80: 36.3%
  • Percent of completed auto thefts reported to the police81: 94%
  • Percent of all assaults reported to the police82: 42.6%

Victims of crime: Who is at greatest risk?

  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income under $7,50083: 67.0
  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $7,500-$14,99984: 44.2
  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $15,000-$24,99985: 38.9
  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $25,000-$34,99986: 37.1
  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $35,000-$49,99987: 30.9
  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $50,000-$74,99988: 24.1
  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income of $75,000 or more89: 23.1
very poor people are the most likely to be burglarized and people making more than $75,000 a year the least
  • Percent of people in 2000 making more than $50,000 reporting they were afraid to walk alone in the dark near their homes90: 28%
  • Percent of people in 2000 making less than $20,000 reporting they were afraid to walk alone in the dark near their homes91: 50%

This page is an excerpt from The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry (April 2003) by Peter Wagner, published by the Western Prison Project and the Prison Policy Initiative.

Footnotes

72 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Injuries from Violent Crime, 1992-98, p. 3.

73 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.40

74 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.40

75 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.40

76 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.40

77 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.40

78 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.40

79 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 5.40

80 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 3.38.

81 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 3.38.

82 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 3.38.

83 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book, Table 305

84 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book, Table 305

85 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book, Table 305

86 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book, Table 305

87 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book, Table 305

88 StatisticalAbstract 2001, Table 305

89 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book, Table 305

90 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.40.

91 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.40.

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Events

  • November 29, 2017:
    Legal Director Aleks Kajstura will be in DC speaking at the congressional Democratic Women’s Working Group dinner about women’s mass incarceration.

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