Massachusetts has an incarceration rate of 275 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 Massachusetts and why.
16,000 people from Massachusetts are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Massachusetts is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 70,000 different people are booked into local jails in Massachusetts.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Today, Massachusetts’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
The Prison Policy Initiative is headquartered in Easthampton, Massachusetts. In addition to our national research, we have joined and led several campaigns for criminal justice reform in Massachusetts, including the following:
Protecting family communication and contact in Massachusetts
Do you know where the children are? A Report of Massachusetts Youth Unlawfully Held Without Bail, by Barbara Fedders (Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School and Prison Policy Initiative Board Member) and Barbara Kaban (Children’s Law Center), September 15, 2006