Rhode Island has an incarceration rate of 289 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 Rhode Island and why.
Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Rhode Island is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 19,000 different people are booked into local jails in Rhode Island.
Prisons and jails in Rhode Island are increasingly shifting the cost of incarceration to people behind bars and their families, hiding the true economic costs of mass incarceration:
We gave Rhode Island a failing grade in September 2021 for its response to the coronavirus in prisons, noting that Rhode Island 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: