Alabama has an incarceration rate of 938 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), meaning that it locks up a higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in Alabama and why.
46,000 people from Alabama are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Alabama is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 90,000 different people are booked into local jails in Alabama.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these Alabama graphs:
Today, Alabama’s incarceration rates stand out internationally
In the U.S., incarceration extends beyond prisons and local jails to include other systems of confinement. The U.S. and state incarceration rates in this graph include people held by these other parts of the justice system, so they may be slightly higher than the commonly reported incarceration rates that only include prisons and jails. Details on the data are available in States of Incarceration: The Global Context. We also have a version of this graph focusing on the incarceration of women.
People of color are overrepresented in prisons and jails
See also our detailed graphs about Whites
in Alabama prisons and jails.
Alabama's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
The high cost of being incarcerated in Alabama
Prisons and jails in Alabama are increasingly shifting the cost of incarceration to people behind bars and their families, hiding the true economic costs of mass incarceration:
Our other articles about Alabama
Data on COVID-19 in Alabama jails and prisons
We gave Alabama a failing grade in September 2021 for its response to the coronavirus in prisons, noting that:
- Alabama is the only state for which we were unable to find evidence of the Department of Correction providing free masks to incarcerated people.
- Alabama released fewer people on parole in 2020 than they had in 2019, and approved a smaller percent of parole applications.
For more detail, see our report States of Emergency. Or check out these other resources: