Nebraska has an incarceration rate of 601 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 Nebraska and why.
Jump to COVID-19 data.
11,000 people from Nebraska are behind bars
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Nebraska is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 30,000 different people are booked into local jails in Nebraska.
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
Also see these Nebraska graphs:
Today, Nebraska’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 Nebraska prisons and jails.
Nebraska's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Data on COVID-19 in Nebraska jails and prisons
We gave Nebraska a failing grade in September 2021 for its response to the coronavirus in prisons, noting that:
- Nebraska is one of only 8 states that have failed to reduce their prison population by more than 10% during the pandemic.
- Nebraska is one of 15 prison systems that has not yet vaccinated more than 60% of the incarcerated population.
For more detail, see our report States of Emergency. Or check out these other resources:
- Our Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic page tracks criminal justice policy responses to the coronavirus all 50 states
- In the first year of the pandemic, Nebraska held more youth under age 18 in its prisons than the year before, returned as many people to prison for technical violations of probation or parole as it did in 2019, and was among the states to reduce its prison populations the least.
- 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.
- Prisons are COVID-19 hotspots, but as of mid-May 2021, only 38% of people in Nebraska prisons had gotten a vaccine
- Nebraska prisons were still over 100% capacity in December 2020, several months into the pandemic
- How many COVID-19 cases in Nebraska communities can be linked to outbreaks in correctional facilities? (data from our report Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Community Spread)
Our other articles about Nebraska