California has an incarceration rate of 581 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 many wealthy democracies do. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in California and why.
Are you looking for information on what jails and prisons in California are doing to stop COVID-19? See our regularly-updated coronavirus response page.
241,000 people from California are behind bars
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these California graphs:
Today, California’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 California prisons and jails.
California's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Our other articles about California
Protecting family contact in California prisons and jails
Prison-based gerrymandering in California