57,000 people from Tennessee are behind bars today
Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years
More than third of the people held in jails in Tennessee are held for federal or state agencies, primarily the state prison system. To avoid counting them twice, this population is not included in the yellow jails line. For annual counts of people in jails held for federal or state authorizes in Tennessee, see our table "Jail and prison incarcerated populations by state over time."
Also see these Tennessee graphs:
This graph excludes people held for state or federal authorities from the total count of people held in Tennessee jails. Because a significant proportion (33%) of the population in Tennessee’s jails is held for the state prison system and the U.S. Marshals Service, this graph likely overstates the convicted population and understates the pre-trial population.
Today, Tennessee’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 Tennessee prisons and jails.
Tennessee's criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails
Our other articles about Tennessee
- Orange Is the New Green: Is Knox County's New Video-Only Visitation Policy for Inmates Really About Safety—or Is it About Money? by Cari Wade Gervin, Metropulse, July 2, 2014
- Prison-based gerrymandering in Tennessee Counties, by Peter Wagner and Aleks Kajstura, Prison Gerrymandering Blog, September 26, 2011
Phantom Constituents in Tennessee’s Boards of County Commissioners, by Peter Wagner and JooHye DellaRocco, February 21, 2008
- Group says prisoners skew political clout, by Erik Schelzig, Associated Press, February 21, 2008