District of Columbia profile
Washington, D.C. has an incarceration rate of 1,153 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities) — a higher incarceration rate than any U.S. state.
The D.C. criminal justice system is especially unique—after the Lorton Prison Complex was closed down in 2001, the District's prison population has been integrated into the federal Bureau of Prisons system. The District of Columbia's Department of Corrections currently operates two facilities that serve functions similar to local jails. While we don't (yet) have a good annual data source for prison growth after 2001, the data that does exist indicates that District of Columbia has the highest incarceration rate in the U.S., and therefore the world.
8,300 people from the District of Columbia are behind bars
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these District of Columbia graphs:
Today, D.C.’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.
D.C.'s criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Our other articles about the District of Columbia