North Dakota profile
North Dakota has an incarceration rate of 583 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 North Dakota and why.
4,500 people from North Dakota are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in North Dakota is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 13,000 different people are booked into local jails in North Dakota.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these North Dakota graphs:
Today, North Dakota’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,
and American Indians/Native Americans
in North Dakota prisons and jails.
North Dakota's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Our other articles about North Dakota
Data on COVID-19 in North Dakota jails and prisons
We gave North Dakota a failing grade in September 2021 for its response to the coronavirus in prisons, noting that:
- North Dakota is one of only 8 states that have failed to reduce their prison population by more than 10% during the pandemic.
- North Dakota 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).