23,000 people from Massachusetts are behind bars today
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these Massachusetts graphs:
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
See also our detailed graphs about Whites,
in Massachusetts prisons and jails.
Massachusetts's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Our other articles about Massachusetts
- Probation fees pose an undue burden by Boston Globe Editorial, December 13, 2016
- Punishing Poverty: The high cost of probation fees in Massachusetts by Wendy Sawyer, December 8, 2016
- Protecting visitation and mail in Massachusetts prisons by Joshua Aiken, September 28, 2016
- Massachusetts removes major roadblock to re-entry: unnecessary license suspensions by Alison Walsh, March 30, 2016
- Massachusetts Chief Justice Gants cites our research, calls for reform by Peter Wagner, October 21, 2015
- Prison Policy Initiative helps overturn a harmful banishment ordinance in Massachusetts by Peter Wagner, September 2, 2015
- Ending prison gerrymandering in Massachusetts campaign and resource page
- Ending harmful driver’s license suspensions in Massachusetts, by Leah Sakala, March 17, 2015
- Massachusetts Legislature Calls on U.S. Census Bureau: Support Fair Redistricting, End Prison Gerrymandering by PPI, September 30, 2014
- Massachusetts delivers resolution to Census Bureau, by Aleks Kajstura, September 12, 2014
- Mass. anti-shackling bill signed into law, by Joe Mirkin, May 21, 2014
- Massachusetts women need more services, not more jail cells, by Leah Sakala, April 25, 2014
- Prison Gerrymandering in Massachusetts: How the Census Bureau prison miscount invites phantom constituents to town meeting, by Aleks Kajstura, October 30, 2013.
- Mass. Legislature should pass Innocence Commission bill, by Leah Sakala, June 18, 2013
- Mass. court to decide when sentencing enhancement zone reform takes effect, by Leah Sakala, October 8, 2013
- Massachusetts residents say NO to prison visitor dog sniffing policy, by Leah Sakala, May 23, 2013
- Letter Urging the Massachusetts Department of Corrections to not subject prison visitors to dog searches, sent March 21, 2013
- Smart on crime, letter to the editor, from Peter Wagner, Boston Herald, Feb 4, 2011
too-long arm of the law, by Boston Globe editorial board,
February 1, 2011
- Quoted in Patriot Ledger, Quincy Mass on state’s counter-productive plan to charge prisoners for their incarcerationby Peter Wagner, May 9, 2010
- Importing Constituents:
Prisoners and Political Clout in Massachusetts, by Elena Lavarreda, Peter Wagner and Rose Heyer, October 6, 2009
- School Zone Laws Don’t Work, by Peter Wagner (letter), Valley Advocate, March 12, 2009.
Reaching too far, coming up short: How large sentencing enhancement zones miss the mark, by Aleks Kajstura, Peter Wagner and Leah Sakala, January, 2009
- PRRAC Researcher Report: Sentencing Enhancement Zones Fail to Protect Children, by Aleks Kajstura & Peter Wagner Poverty & Race November/December 2008.
The Geography of Punishment: How Huge Sentencing Enhancement Zones Harm Communities, Fail to Protect Children, by Aleks Kajstura, Peter Wagner and William Goldberg, July 2008
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
- Affidavit of Peter Wagner, August 14, 2006 in opposition to a Revere, MA city ordinance that would banish people classified as level 3 sex offenders from the city.
- Don’t sink more funds into jails for women, Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA) April 27, 2006.
- Jim Crow in Massachusetts? Prisoner disenfranchisement, by Peter Wagner, October 31, 2004.
- Massachusetts Disenfranchises its Prisoners November 2000, written for Mass Dissent