Delaware has an incarceration rate of 631 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 almost any democracy on earth. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in Delaware and why.
Jump to COVID-19 data.
7,100 people from Delaware are behind bars
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these Delaware graphs:
Today, Delaware’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 Delaware prisons.
Delaware's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons
Data on COVID-19 in Delaware jails and prisons
We gave Delaware a failing grade in September 2021 for its response to the coronavirus in prisons, noting that:
- Delaware is one of 15 prison systems that does not have a policy making hand sanitizer widely available or providing free hygiene products — like soap — to incarcerated people.
- Delaware failed to utilize one of the most obvious, and easiest, tools for reducing the prison population — stopping prison admissions for technical violations of probation and parole (which are not crimes).
For more detail, see our report States of Emergency. Or check out these other resources:
- During the pandemic, Delaware suspended medical copays for incarcerated people seeking treatment for COVID-like symptoms. It should end these copays completely.
- Our Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic page tracks criminal justice policy responses to the coronavirus all 50 states
- Prisons are COVID-19 hotspots, but as of mid-May 2021, only 43% of people in Delaware prisons had gotten a vaccine
- As of late April 2021, only 50% of corrections staff in Delaware prisons had gotten the COVID-19 vaccine
- How crowded are Delaware prisons, as of December 2020?
- How many COVID-19 cases in Delaware communities can be linked to outbreaks in correctional facilities? (data from our report Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Community Spread)
- As of August 2020, Delaware prisons were not even requiring staff to wear masks at work
- State prison and jail population data for February 2022. (Previous data is available for October 2021, June 2021, February 2021, December 2020, September 2020, August 2020, and May 2020.) Data availability varies by state.
Our other articles about Delaware