District of Columbia profile

The graphs on this page were created for our 50 State Incarceration Profiles. The District of Columbia 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 world.

Change over time

graph showing the number of people in state prison and local jails per 100,000 residents in the District of Columbia from 1978 to 2015 Also see these District of Columbia graphs:

The big picture

Pie chart showing that 8,200 of the District of Columbia residents are locked up in federal prisons, local jails and youth facilities

Pie chart showing that 20,000 of the District of Columbia residents are in various types of correctional facilities or under criminal justice supervision on probation or parole

Our other articles about the District of Columbia

Other resources

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  • May 15, 2018:
    Our Policy Analyst Lucius Couloute will be at the LEDA Summit on Race and Inclusion in Holland, Michigan, presenting his research on the challenges and disadvantages people face when they are released from prison. Tickets are available on LEDA’s website.

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