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26,000 people from Arkansas are behind bars today

Pie chart showing that 26,000 Arkansas residents are locked up in federal prisons, state prisons, local jails and other types of facilities


Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years

graph showing the number of people in state prison and local jails per 100,000 residents in Arkansas from 1978 to 2015

More than third of the people held in jails in Arkansas are held for federal or state agencies, primarily the state prison system. To avoid counting them twice, this population is not included in the yellow jails line. For annual counts of people in jails held for federal or state authorizes in Arkansas, see our table "Jail and prison incarcerated populations by state over time."

Also see these Arkansas graphs:


Graph showing the number of people in Arkansas jails who were convicted and the number who were unconvicted, for the years 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1999, 2005, and 2013.

This graph excludes people held for state or federal authorities from the total count of people held in Arkansas jails. Because a significant proportion (39%) of the population in Arkansas’s jails is held for the state prison system, this graph likely overstates the convicted population and understates the pre-trial population.


Today, Arkansas’s incarceration rates stand out internationally

graphic comparing the incarceration rates of the founding NATO members with the incarceration rates of the United States and the state of Arkansas. The incarceration rate of 698 per 100,000 for the United States and 900 for Arkansas is much higher than any of the founding NATO membersIn 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

2010 graph showing incarceration rates per 100,000 people of various racial and ethnic groups in Arkansas

racial and ethnic disparities between the prison/jail and general population in AR as of 2010

See also our detailed graphs about Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks in Arkansas prisons and jails.


Arkansas's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails

Pie chart showing that 80,000 Arkansas residents are in various types of correctional facilities or under criminal justice supervision on probation or parole


Our other articles about Arkansas


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