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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Bulletin
November 2005, NCJ 210676

Probation and Parole
in the United States, 2004
By Lauren E. Glaze
and Seri Palla
BJS Statisticians

During 2004 the total Federal, State,
and local adult correctional population
C incarcerated or in the community C
grew by 59,900 to reach nearly 7
million. The growth of 0.9% during the
year was a third of the average annual
increase of 2.7% since 1995. About
3.2% of the U.S. adult population, or 1
in every 31 adults, were incarcerated
or on probation or parole at yearend
2004.
The probation population reached
4,151,125 on December 31, 2004.
This represented an increase of 0.2%
for the year, less than a tenth of the
average annual increase of 2.8% since
1995. During 2004 the adult parole
population grew 2.7%, more than
double the average annual increase of
1.3% since 1995, to a total of 765,355.

Persons under adult correctional supervision, 1995-2004

Year
1995
2000
2001
2002
2003
2003 (revised)b
2004

Total estimated
correctional
Community supervision
populationa
Probation
Parole
5,342,900
6,445,100
6,581,700
6,758,800
6,895,300
6,936,600
6,996,500

3,077,861
3,826,209
3,931,731
4,024,067
4,073,987
4,144,782
4,151,125

679,421
723,898
732,333
750,934
774,588
745,125
765,355

Incarceration
Jail
Prison
507,044
621,149
631,240
665,475
691,301
691,301
713,990

1,078,542
1,316,333
1,330,007
1,367,547
1,392,796
1,392,796
1,421,911

Percent change,
2003-04

0.9%

0.2%

2.7%

3.3%

2.1%

Average annual
percent change,
1995-2004c

2.7%

2.8%

1.3%

3.9%

3.1%

Note: Counts of probationers, parolees, and prisoners are for December 31. All jail counts are
for June 30. Jail and prison counts include inmates held in private facilities. Totals in 2000
through 2004 exclude probationers held in jail or prison.
a
Because some offenders may have multiple statuses, totals were rounded to the nearest 100.
b
Due to changes in reporting, total probation and parole counts include estimated counts for
Massachusetts and Pennsylvania based on reporting methods comparable to 2004.
c
Percent change based on comparable reporting agencies, excluding 219,195 probationers
from agencies added since 1995. See Methodology.

Highlights
Probation C

Parole C

• The adult probation population grew 0.2% in 2004. This
was the smallest annual growth rate since the survey
began in 1979.

• Overall, the Nation's parole population grew 20,230
in 2004, or 2.7%, more than twice the average annual
increase of 1.3% since 1995.

• 50% of all probationers had been convicted of a misdemeanor, 49% of a felony, and 1% of other infractions.
Twenty-six percent were on probation for a drug law
violation, and 15% for driving while intoxicated.

• Mandatory releases from prison as a result of a
sentencing statute or good-time provision comprised
52% of those entering parole in 2004, up from 45% in 1995.

• Four States had an increase of 10% or more in their
probation population in 2004: Kentucky (15%), Mississippi
(12%), New Mexico (11%), and New Jersey (10%).
• The adult probation population decreased in 21 States.
Washington State was the only State with a double-digit
decrease (down 27%).

• A total of 10 States had double-digit increases in their
parole population in 2004, led by Nebraska (24%).
• 9 States had a decrease in their parole population.
Nevada (down 13%) was the only State with a decrease
of more than 10%.

Nearly 5 million persons on
probation or parole
The number of adult men and women
in the United States who were being
supervised on probation or parole at
the end of 2004 reached a new high of
4,916,480, up from 3,757,282 on
December 31, 1995. These data were
collected in the 2004 Annual Probation
Survey and the 2004 Annual Parole
Survey conducted by the Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS).
Probationers are criminal offenders
who have been sentenced to a period
of correctional supervision in the
community in lieu of incarceration.
Parole is a period of conditional supervised release following a prison term.
Prisoners may be released to parole
either by a parole board decision or by
mandatory conditional release.
In 2004 the growth in the community
supervision population was 0.5%, or
26,573 additional persons added
during the year. The increase was less
than a fifth of the average annual
increase of 3.0% since 1995.
Probationers accounted for half
the growth in the correctional
population since 1990
Probationers accounted for half the
total growth in the correctional population since 1990 (figure 1). Overall, the
correctional population increased by
nearly 2.5 million, or 57%, from 1990
to 2004. Probationers accounted for
51% of the growth (or 1,262,000),
followed by prisoners (27% or
679,000), jail inmates (12% or
309,000), and parolees (9% or
234,000).

Totala
Probationb
Parole
Prison
Jail

Increase in correctional
population, 1990-2004
Number
Percent
2,483,000
100%
1,262,000
234,000
679,000
309,000

50.8%
9.4
27.3
12.4

Community supervision declined
as a percentage of the correctional
population
Between 1990 and 2004 the prison
population was the fastest growing
correctional population, with an
average annual increase of 4.7%,
followed by jails (4.1%), probation
(2.8%), and parole (2.6%).
As a percentage of the correctional
population, offenders under community supervision accounted for 70% in
2004 (down from nearly 74% in 1990),
while those incarcerated accounted for
30% (up from 26% in 1990).
Probationers continued to account for
the majority of all persons under
correctional supervision in 2004 (59%,
compared to 61% in 1990). Parolees
were 11% of the total population in
2004 (down from 12% in 1990). In
contrast, prisoners increased to 20%
of the total correctional population in
2004 (up from 17% in 1990), and jail
inmates increased to 10% (up from
9% in 1990).

The rate of U.S. adult residents under
correctional supervision nearly tripled
between 1980 (1,132 per 100,000) and
2004 (3,175 per 100,000). During
2004 the U.S. resident population
increased at a higher rate (1.2%) than
the population under correctional
supervision (0.9%). Despite growth in
the total correctional population from
6,936,600 in 2003 to 6,996,500 in
2004, the rate of U.S. men and women
under correctional supervision fell from
3,186 per 100,000 adult residents to
3,175 in 2004.
Total estimated
correctional
population
1,842,100
3,013,100
4,350,300
5,342,900
6,445,100
6,581,700
6,758,800
6,936,600
6,996,500

Year
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004

Supervision rate
per 100,000
adults*
1,132
1,719
2,348
2,751
3,072
3,097
3,142
3,186
3,175

*Rates are computed using the U.S. adult
resident population on July 1, except
for 1980 which is based on April 1.

Number of persons under correctional supervision,
by type of supervision, 1990-2004
Number of persons
8,000,000
7,000,000
6,000,000

Probation

5,000,000
4,000,000
3,000,000

Parole
2,000,000

Prison

1,000,000
0
1990

Figure 1

a

Totals may not sum due to rounding.
b
Excludes 219,195 probationers from
agencies added since 1995. See
Methodology.

2

Correctional supervision rate rose
sharply from 1980 to 2004

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

Jail
1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

Table 1. Community corrections among the States, yearend 2004
10 States
with the largest
2004 community
corrections
populations

Number
supervised

10 States with the
largest percent
increase

Percent
increase,
2003-04

10 States with
the highest
rates of supervision, 2004

Probation:
Texas
California
Florida
Ohio
Michigan
Pennsylvania
Massachusetts
Illinois
New Jersey
Washington

428,773
384,852
281,170
227,891
176,083
167,180
163,471
143,871
143,315
125,222

Kentucky
Mississippi
New Mexico
New Jersey
New Hampshire
Tennessee
Iowa
Hawaii
Arizona
Colorado

15.3%
11.6
11.5
10.0
7.5
6.8
6.6
6.4
5.8
5.1

Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Minnesota
Delaware
Washington
Texas
Ohio
Indiana
Michigan
Hawaii

Parole:
California
Texas
Pennsylvania
New York
Illinois
Louisiana
Georgia
Michigan
Oregon
Ohio

110,261
102,072
77,175
54,524
34,277
24,387
23,344
20,924
20,858
18,882

Nebraska
Vermont
New Mexico
Washington
South Dakota
Arkansas
Colorado
Iowa
Alabama
Georgia

24.2%
15.8
14.9
14.3
14.0
12.6
12.6
11.5
11.4
10.3

Pennsylvania
Oregon
Louisiana
Arkansas
Texas
California
Missouri
South Dakota
New York
Illinois

Persons
supervised per
100,000 adult
U.S. residents*
3,301
3,117
2,959
2,940
2,654
2,643
2,626
2,511
2,323
2,224
806
761
728
715
629
419
398
382
372
362

10 States with
the lowest rates
of supervision,
2004

Persons
supervised per
100,000 adult
U.S. residents*

New Hampshire
West Virginia
Utah
Kansas
Nevada
North Dakota
Virginia
New York
Maine
South Dakota

431
488
621
697
723
744
769
833
901
926

Washington
Maine
Florida
Rhode Island
North Carolina
North Dakota
Nebraska
Virginia
Massachusetts
Delaware

3
3
36
44
45
48
61
78
78
85

Note: This table excludes the District of Columbia, a wholly urban jurisdiction, Georgia
probation counts, which included probation case-based counts for private agencies, and
Idaho probation counts in which estimates for misdemeanors were based on admissions.
*Rates are computed using the U.S. adult resident population on July 1, 2004.

6 of the 10 States with largest
probation populations also had
large parole populations
Texas, California, Ohio, Michigan,
Pennsylvania, and Illinois had 6 of the
10 largest probation populations in the
Nation at yearend 2004 (table 1).
These six States accounted for more
than a third of all probationers (37%).
The same six States were among the
10 States with the largest parole
populations in the Nation. Almost half
of all parolees were supervised within
these six States (48%).
Texas and California alone accounted
for more than 1 million adults supervised in the community, or about 1 in 5
probationers and parolees. Texas led
the Nation with 530,845 persons on
probation or parole, followed by California with 495,113.

Among the States, Massachusetts had
the largest percentage of its adult
population under community supervision (3.4% at yearend 2004), followed
by Texas (3.3%) and Rhode Island
(3.2%).
Despite having the largest parole
population and the second largest
probation population in the Nation, the
percentage of California’s adult population under community supervision was
1.9%, or slightly below the Nation’s
percentage of 2.2%.
Eight States reported that less than
1,000 per 100,000 adult residents were
under community supervision. New
Hampshire had the lowest rate of
supervision in the community (553
offenders per 100,000 adults).

New Hampshire
West Virginia
North Dakota
Utah
Virginia
Maine
Kansas
Nevada

4 States reported an increase
of 10% or more in their probation
population
In 2004 Kentucky reported the largest
increase (15%) in the number of adults
on probation, followed by Mississippi
(12%), New Mexico (11%), and New
Jersey (10%). A total of twenty-six
States reported an increase in their
adult probation population during 2004.
Twenty-one States had fewer adults on
probation at the end of 2004 than at
the beginning of the year, led by
Washington State, down 27%, the only
double-digit decrease during 2004.

Number under supervision
per 100,000 adult residents
553
573
792
822
846
904
918
932

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

3

Table 2. Adults on probation, 2004
Region
and jurisdiction

Probation
population,
1/1/04

2004
Entries

Percent
change,
2004

Number on probation
per 100,000 adult
residents, 12/31/04

U.S. totala
Federal
State (reported)
State (estimated)a

4,144,782
30,601
4,087,012
4,114,181

2,217,900
12,780
1,957,306
2,205,100

2,210,400
14,895
1,951,231
2,195,500

4,151,125
28,346
4,122,779
4,122,779

0.2%
-7.4%
-0.2%

1,884
13
-1,871

Northeasta,b
Connecticut
Maine
Massachusettsb,c
New Hampshired
New Jersey
New York
Pennsylvaniaa,e
Rhode Island
Vermont
Midwest
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Michiganb,d
Minnesota
Missourid
Nebraska
North Dakota
Ohiob,d
South Dakota
Wisconsin
South
Alabamab
Arkansas
Delaware
District of Columbiad
Floridab,d
Georgiab,d,f
Kentuckyb
Louisiana
Maryland
Mississippi
North Carolina
Oklahomad
South Carolina
Tennesseeb
Texas
Virginia
West Virginiab
West
Alaska
Arizonad
Californiad
Coloradob,d
Hawaii
Idahod,g
Montana b
Nevada
New Mexico
Oregon
Utah
Washingtonb,d
Wyoming

689,053
52,192
9,855
166,464
3,987
130,303
126,138
137,206
25,929
9,810
943,026
144,454
118,773
21,413
14,740
179,486
110,046
54,543
18,412
3,566
218,239
5,236
54,118
1,652,705
39,660
28,164
18,921
7,116
286,769
402,694
28,869
36,813
77,875
19,116
113,161
28,326
40,354
44,359
431,981
41,663
6,864
829,397
5,406
65,554
374,701
55,297
20,165
42,375
6,914
12,159
15,899
43,415
10,339
172,511
4,662

263,100
15,656
5,676
76,800
1,595
45,166
38,647
4,157
6,279
4,919
593,700
62,354
93,918
15,080
19,577
124,000
66,775
25,105
15,282
2,525
140,800
3,310
24,929
932,100
14,700
8,388
15,083
6,944
246,200
217,100
20,200
14,350
40,018
8,483
60,069
14,044
13,972
25,700
198,130
25,409
3,300
416,200
998
43,660
177,896
29,400
8,541
36,762
4,000
6,755
8,414
17,183
5,490
75,300
1,846

254,700
15,756
6,209
79,800
1,297
32,154
42,758
3,476
6,123
4,998
585,200
62,937
96,260
13,679
20,008
127,400
62,595
25,816
15,700
2,404
131,100
3,243
24,077
915,300
17,500
7,424
15,279
6,313
251,800
200,400
15,800
12,693
41,217
6,275
61,693
13,935
15,470
21,400
201,338
23,602
3,200
440,300
857
39,871
167,745
26,500
7,260
34,930
3,700
6,393
6,588
16,163
5,585
122,600
2,090

697,508
52,092
9,322
163,471
4,285
143,315
122,027
167,180
26,085
9,731
951,498
143,871
116,431
22,832
14,309
176,083
114,226
53,832
17,994
3,687
227,891
5,372
54,970
1,668,111
36,795
29,128
18,725
7,747
281,170
419,350
33,286
38,470
76,676
21,324
111,537
28,435
38,856
47,392
428,773
43,470
6,977
805,662
5,547
69,343
384,852
58,108
21,446
44,580
7,221
12,521
17,725
44,435
10,244
125,222
4,418

1.2%
-0.2
-5.4
-1.8
7.5
10.0
-3.3
-0.6
-0.8
0.9%
-0.4
-2.0
6.6
-2.9
-1.9
3.8
-1.3
-2.3
3.4
4.4
2.6
1.6
0.9%
-7.2
3.4
-1.0
8.9
-2.0
-15.3
4.5
-1.5
11.6
-1.4
0.4
-3.7
6.8
-0.7
4.3
1.6
-2.9%
2.6
5.8
2.7
5.1
6.4
-4.4
3.0
11.5
2.3
-0.9
-27.4
-5.2

1,671
1,955
901
3,301
431
2,190
833
1,747
3,117
2,000
1,922
1,518
2,511
1,004
697
2,323
2,959
1,232
1,371
744
2,626
926
1,308
2,196
1,071
1,403
2,940
1,745
2,099
-1,051
1,148
1,842
990
1,737
1,068
1,224
1,051
2,643
769
488
1,620
1,187
1,652
1,463
1,698
2,224
-1,005
723
1,256
1,620
621
2,654
1,134

Note: Because of incomplete data, the population for some
jurisdictions on December 31, 2004, does not equal the population
on January 1, 2004, plus entries, minus exits.
--Not calculated.
a
Due to a change in reporting, January 1, 2004, county probation
counts for Pennsylvania were estimated. The comparable total was
164,375. Because of nonreporting, total entries (68,400) and exits
(65,600) were estimated to include county probationers.

4

Exits

Probation
population,
12/31/04

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

b

Data for entries and exits were estimated for nonreporting agencies.
Data are for June 30, 2003, and 2004. Some data for June 30, 2003 are
estimated. Due to a change in reporting criteria, data are not comparable to
previous reports.
d
Some or all data were estimated.
e
Reported data for entries and exits include only State probationers.
f
Counts include private agency cases and may overstate the
number under supervision.
g
Counts include estimates for misdemeanors based on admissions.
c

6,343 probationers added in 2004

increase reached its lowest since data
collection began in 1979 — an
additional 6,300 probationers.

Growth in probation since 1990
linked to entries

During 2004 the probation population
grew by 6,343. The growth in the
number of probationers (0.2%) was
less than a tenth of the average annual
increase since 1995 (2.8%).

Since 1990 the probation population
has steadily increased from 2,649,300
to 4,151,100 in 2004 (figure 2).
Although the number of entries
decreased from 1990 (1,637,600) to
At yearend 2004 the probation supervi- 1994 (1,397,500), entries exceeded
sion rate totaled 1,884 probationers per exits during that period, resulting in an
average annual increase of 3.0% in the
100,000 adult U.S. residents — the
probation population. The number
equivalent of almost 1 in every 53
entering probation has increased each
adults (table 2). Two States, Massayear since 1994, except for a 2.0%
chusetts (3,301 per 100,000) and
Rhode Island (3,117 per 100,000), had decrease in 2001 and a 0.5% decrease
more than 3% of their adult resident
in 2004.
population under probation supervision.
Between 1995 and 1999 the probation
population increased an average of
A total of 11 States had less than 1%
of their adult resident population under about 100,000 each year (figure 3).
probation supervision. Two States had Beginning in 2001 the annual increase
in the number of probationers declined
a rate below 500 probationers per
from 105,500, to 92,300 in 2002, to
100,000 adult residents: New
49,900 in 2003. In 2004 the annual
Hampshire (431 per 100,000) and
West Virginia (488 per 100,000).
Probation population grew less
in 2004 than in any of the previous
25 years

Annual probation population and
entries to probation, 1990-2004
Number of probationers
4,000,000

During 2004 the probation population
increased 0.2%, the smallest increase
in the population since the survey was
introduced in 1979. The number of
entries (2,217,900) exceeded the
number of exits (2,210,400) during
2004. Compared to 2003 the number
of entries to probation (2,217,900)
declined (from 2,229,700 in 2003),
and the number of exits (2,210,400)
increased (from 2,179,800).

3,000,000

Yearend
2,000,000

0
1990

Percent change,
2003-04
Average annual
percent change,
2000-04

Entries
2,153,300
2,110,600
2,129,100
2,229,700
2,217,900

Exits
2,095,300
1,997,200
2,064,500
2,179,800
2,210,400

-0.5%

1.4%

0.7%

1.3%

1995

2000

In absolute numbers the probation
population increased 854,100 between
1995 and 2004. California experienced
the largest growth (104,300), followed
by Pennsylvania (60,400), Michigan
(34,700), Illinois (34,400), and Minnesota (30,400). These five States
accounted for 31% of the growth in
probation since 1995.
In 2004 three States, the Federal
system, and the District of Columbia
had at least 2,000 fewer adult men and
women on probation at yearend
compared to yearend 1995. New York
had the largest decrease in the number
of probationers (46,000).
Largest increases, 1995-2004
California
104,300
Pennsylvania
60,400
Michigan
34,700
Illinois
34,400
Minnesota
30,400
Largest decreases, 1995-2004
New York
-46,000
Federal system
-7,100
District of Columbia
-2,700
Connecticut
-2,400
Kansas
-2,200

2004

Figure 2

Annual increase in probation population, 1995-2004
Number of increase
140,000

Since 2000 entries to probation have
increased at a slower rate annually
(0.7%) than exits (1.3% annually).
Year
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004

Annual entries

1,000,000

5 States accounted for nearly a third
of the growth in probation from 1995
to 2004

120,000
100,000
80,000
60,000
40,000
20,000
0
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

.

Figure 3

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

5

At yearend 2004 almost 1 in 4 probationers were female;
more than 1 in 2 were white
Nationwide women represented a slightly larger percentage of
the probation population in 2004 than in 1995 (table 3). Women
were 23% of adults on probation in 2004 (957,600), up from
21% in 1995.
At yearend 2004 more than half of all probationers were white
(2,325,300); almost a third were black (1,235,100); and an
eighth were Hispanic (518,100). Persons of other races
comprised about 2% of probationers (72,700).
Direct sentences to probation more common in 2004 than
1995
A larger percentage of probationers in 2004 had received a
direct sentence to probation (56%) than in 1995 (48%). A
smaller percentage had a probation sentence combined with
incarceration (8%, compared to 15% in 1995). The percentage
of probationers that received a sentence to incarceration which
was suspended has slowly declined (26% in 1995, to 25% in
2000, to 24% in 2004).
Half of all probationers convicted of a misdemeanor;
success rates have remained stable since 1995
For the first time since data collection began in 1979, probationers convicted of a misdemeanor (50%) accounted for a larger
percentage of the population than probationers convicted of a
felony (49%).
The largest percentage of the probation population was
convicted of a drug law violation (26%), followed by a DWI
(15%) and larceny/theft (12%).
Almost 3 in 4 probationers were under active supervision at
yearend. Probationers under active supervision are required to
regularly report to a probation authority in person, by mail, or by
telephone. The percentage of probationers required to report
regularly declined steadily, from 79% in 1995 to 76% in 2000
and to 74% in 2004.
About 1 in 11 probationers had absconded at yearend 2004.
Though still on probation, absconders had failed to report and
could not be located. Absconders remained stable at 9% of all
persons on probation between 1995 and 2004.
Sixty percent of the more than 2.2 million adults discharged from
probation in 2004 had successfully met the conditions of their
supervision. The percentage of probationers discharged
successfully remained stable, from 62% in 1995 to 60% in 2000
and 2004. Probationers discharged from supervision because of
incarceration due to a rule violation or new offense decreased
from 21% in 1995 to 15% in 2000 and 2004. Another 4% of
those discharged from probation had absconded, and 10% had
their probation revoked without incarceration.

6

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

Table 3. Characteristics of adults
on probation, 1995, 2000, and 2004
Characteristic

1995

2000

2004

Total

100%

100%

100%

79%
21

78%
22

77%
23

53%
31
14

54%
31
13

56%
30
12

1

1

1

--

1

1

48%
15
26
6
4

56%
11
25
7
1

56%
8
24
10
1

79%

76%

74%

**
8
9
**
2
2

**
9
9
**
3
3

1
9
9
5
2
--

Type of offense
Felony
Misdemeanor
Other infractions

54%
44
2

52%
46
2

49%
50
1

Most serious offense
Sexual assault
Domestic violence
Other assault
Burglary
Larceny/theft
Fraud
Drug law violations
Driving while intoxicated
Minor traffic offenses
Other

**
**
**
**
**
**
**
16
**
84

**
**
**
**
**
**
24
18
6
52

3%
6
10
5
12
5
26
15
7
10

Adults entering probation
Without incarceration
With incarceration
Other types

72%
13
15

79%
16
5

76%
14
10

Gender
Male
Female
Race/Hispanic origin
Whitea
Blacka
Hispanic
American Indian/
Alaska Nativea
Asian/Native Hawaiian/other
Pacific Islandera
Status of probation
Direct imposition
Split sentence
Sentence suspended
Imposition suspended
Other
Status of supervision
Active
Residential/other
treatment program
Inactive
Absconder
Warrant status
Supervised out of State
Other

Adults leaving probation
Successful completions
62%
60%
60%
Incarceration
21
15
15
With new sentence
5
3
8
With the same sentence
13
8
6
Unknown
3
4
1
Absconderb
**
3
4
Discharge to custody,
detainer, or warrant
**
1
1
Other unsuccessfulb
**
11
10
Death
1
1
1
Other
16
9
9
Note: For every characteristic there were persons of unknown
type. Detail may not sum to total because of rounding.
**Not available.
--Less than 0.5%.
a
Excludes persons of Hispanic origin.
b
In 1995 “absconder” and “other unsuccessful” statuses
were reported among “other.”

Table 4. Adults on parole, 2004

Region
and jurisdiction

Parole
population,
2004
1/1/04
Entries
Exits

Parole
population,
12/31/04

Percent
change,
2004

Number on
parole per
100,000 adult
residents,
12/31/04

U.S. totala
Federal
State (reported)
State (estimated)a

745,125
86,567
685,745
658,558

503,200 483,000
37,712 34,149
450,632 434,642
465,500 448,800

765,355
89,821
675,534
675,534

2.7%
3.8%
-2.6%

347
41
-307

Northeasta,b
Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshirec
New Jersey
New York
Pennsylvaniaa,d
Rhode Island
Vermont
Midwest
Illinois
Indiana
Iowae
Kansase
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouric
Nebraska
North Dakota
Ohio
South Dakota
Wisconsin
South
Alabamac
Arkansas
Delaware
District of Columbiac
Florida
Georgia
Kentuckye
Louisiana
Maryland
Mississippi
North Carolina
Oklahomac
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texasc
Virginiac
West Virginia
West
Alaskae
Arizona
Californiae
Colorado
Hawaii
Idaho
Montanae
Nevada
New Mexico
Oregon
Utah
Washingtonc
Wyoming

152,488
2,343
32
3,597
1,199
13,248
55,853
102,244
363
796
122,678
35,008
7,019
2,974
4,145
20,233
3,596
15,830
648
225
18,427
1,944
12,629
224,995
6,950
13,180
529
4,861
5,098
21,161
7,744
23,743
13,742
1,816
2,677
4,047
3,242
7,957
102,271
4,834
1,143
158,397
927
5,367
110,338
6,559
2,240
2,329
815
4,126
2,328
19,456
3,229
105
578

69,100 66,800
2,857
2,648
0
0
4,862
4,605
766
753
11,030 10,098
23,715 25,044
10,083
8,665
403
398
546
420
101,898 96,736
35,260 35,991
7,028
6,548
2,839
2,496
4,542
4,162
11,330 10,639
4,770
4,494
13,299 11,729
1,112
955
650
636
11,724 11,269
1,865
1,592
7,479
6,225
106,059 98,779
3,999
3,204
7,182
5,518
269
259
2,203
1,746
5,540
5,750
13,178 10,995
4,083
3,821
13,517 12,873
8,145
7,536
1,056
893
3,411
3,206
1,926
1,644
1,313
1,263
3,394
2,660
33,463 33,662
2,601
3,043
779
706
188,413 186,496
630
606
8,211
7,907
154,402 155,046
6,094
5,270
831
775
1,578
1,537
648
653
2,422
2,938
2,062
1,714
8,919
7,517
2,289
2,206
48
33
279
294

154,819
2,552
32
3,854
1,212
14,180
54,524
77,175
368
922
127,840
34,277
7,499
3,317
4,525
20,924
3,872
17,400
805
239
18,882
2,217
13,883
231,994
7,745
14,844
539
5,318
4,888
23,344
8,006
24,387
14,351
1,979
2,882
4,329
3,292
8,410
102,072
4,392
1,216
160,881
951
5,671
110,261
7,383
2,296
2,370
810
3,610
2,676
20,858
3,312
120
563

1.5%
8.9
0.0
7.1
1.1
7.0
-2.4
-1.4
15.8
4.2%
-2.1
6.8
11.5
9.2
3.4
7.7
9.9
24.2
6.2
2.5
14.0
9.9
3.1%
11.4
12.6
1.9
9.4
-4.1
10.3
3.4
2.7
4.4
9.0
7.7
7.0
1.5
5.7
-0.2
-9.1
6.4
1.6%
2.6
5.7
-0.1
12.6
2.5
1.8
-0.6
-12.5
14.9
7.2
2.6
14.3
-2.6

371
96
3
78
122
217
372
806
44
190
258
362
162
146
221
276
100
398
61
48
218
382
330
305
225
715
85
1,198
36
359
253
728
345
92
45
163
104
186
629
78
85
324
204
135
419
216
238
232
113
209
190
761
201
3
145

Note: Because of incomplete data, the
December 31, 2004 total does not equal the
January 1 total, plus entries, minus exits.
--Not calculated.
a
Due to a change in reporting, January 1,
2004 county counts for Pennsylvania were
estimated. The comparable total was 75,057.
Total entries (24,900) and exits

Growth in parole twice the average
annual increase since 1995
At the end of 2004 a total of 765,355
adult men and women were on parole
(table 4). The population grew 20,230
during the year, or 2.7%, more than
double the average annual increase of
1.3% since 1995. The growth in the
parole population during 2004 was the
second largest increase since 1995
(3.1% in 2003) (table 5).
At yearend 2004, 347 persons were
under parole supervision per 100,000
adult residents, or 1 out of every 288
adults in the United States. Pennsylvania (806 per 100,000) was the State
with the highest rate of parole supervision, while Washington and Maine had
the lowest rates of supervision (3 per
100,000). Both the latter States
abolished discretionary parole, in 1984
and 1975, respectively.
Parole population increased
in 39 States
A total of 39 States had more adults on
parole at the end of 2004 than at the
beginning of the year. Double-digit
increases were reported in 10 States.
Nebraska (24%) was the only State to
report an increase of over 20%.
A total of nine States reported a
decrease in their parole population
during 2004, with Nevada (13%) having
the only double-digit decrease. One
State, Maine, reported no change in
the parole population during the year.
Table 5. Change in the number of
adults on parole, 1995-2004
Year

(22,800) were estimated to include county counts.
b
Data for entries and exits were estimated
for nonreporting agencies.
c
All data were estimated.
d
Reported data for entries and exits include
only State parolees.
e
Excludes parolees in one of the following
categories: absconder, out of State, or inactive.

1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004

Annual increase
Percent
Number
change
-10,950
312
15,054
1,598
18,072
9,441
8,435
18,601
23,654
20,230

-1.6%
0.0
2.2
0.2
2.6
1.3
1.2
2.5
3.1
2.7

Total increase,
1995-2004

85,934

12.6%

Average annual
increase,
1995-2004

9,548

1.3%

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

7

State parole population increasing
after stability during the 1990’s
From 1980 to 1992 the State parole
population increased from 196,800 to
618,700, or an average of 10%
annually (figure 4). During the period
from 1992 to 1998, the growth in the
population slowed, increasing a total of
10,500, the equivalent of an average
annual increase of nearly 0.3%. In the
following period, 1998 to 2004, the
State parole population added 46,300
additional parolees, the equivalent of a
1% increase annually.

State
entries
441,600
445,600
436,300
459,100
465,500

Year
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Average annual
percent change,
2000-04

State
exits
432,200
439,100
420,000
440,500
448,800

1.3%

1.0%

Since 1980 discretionary releases to
parole supervision have steadily
declined

From 1980 to 1990 the number of
entries to State parole supervision
more than tripled from 113,400 to
349,000. State parole entries
continued to rise during the 1990’s
(up an average of 2.4% annually), but
were offset by an increase in parole
discharges (up an average of 4.6%
annually).

As a percentage of all releases from
State prison, discretionary releases by
a parole board steadily declined from
55% in 1980 to 22% in 2003 (figure 5).
From 1980 to 1995 mandatory parole
releases increased (from 19% to
39%). These trends were consistent
with the change in release policy
occurring within many States after
1980, resulting in a shift away from
discretionary releases in favor of
determinate sentences and mandatory
supervised release. (See Trends in
State Parole, 1990-2000, October
2001, NCJ 184735.)

From 2000 to 2004 the number of
State parole entries continued to
exceed the number of exits, but both
grew at a slower pace; entries grew
1.3% annually while exits grew 1.0%.

Compared to the increase during the
15-year period from 1980 to 1995,
mandatory parole releases remained
relatively stable from 1995 (39%) to
2003 (36%).

Growth in State parole linked to
entries

Annual State parole population and
entries to State parole, 1980-2004

Releases from State prison due to
expiration of sentence increased from
13% of all releases in 1990 to 21% in
2001. That type of release declined to
19% in 2003.
From 1995 to 2002 other conditional
releases from State prison rose slightly
(from 10% in 1995 to 12% in 2000).
These releases include unspecified
releases and releases to probation.
In 2003 other conditional releases
comprised nearly 15% of all releases
from State prison.
1 in 8 parolees were female
At yearend 2004 women made up
about 1 out of every 8 adults on parole
(94,400) (table 6). Women (12%)
represented a growing percentage of
the parole population since 1995
(10%).
From 1995 to 2004 black parolees
decreased as a percentage of all
parolees (45% down to 41%). During
this same period, the percentage of
parolees who were white steadily
increased (34% in 1995, 38% in 2000,
and 40% in 2004). Almost 1 in 5 parolees were Hispanic (136,500). About
2% of parolees were of other races
(11,700).

Releases from State prison, by method of release, 1980-2003
Percent of releases
60%

Number of parolees
1,000,000

Discretionary parole

800,000

50%

Yearend population
600,000

40%

400,000
200,000

Mandatory parole

Annual entries
30%

0
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2004

20%

Expiration of sentence

Figure 4
10%

Other conditional
0%
1980

1984

1988

1992

1996

2000

2003

Note: Data are from the National Prisoners Statistics (NPS-1) series.
Figure 5

8

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

More than 8 in 10 parolees were
under active supervision

Table 6. Characteristics of adults
on parole, 1995, 2000, and 2004
Characteristic
Total
Gender
Male
Female

1995

2000 2004

100% 100% 100%
90%
10

88%
12

88%
12

34%
45
21

38 %
40
21

40%
41
18

1
--

1
--

1
1

Status of supervision
Active
Inactive
Absconder
Supervised out of State
Other

78%
11
6
4
--

83%
4
7
5
1

85%
3
7
4
1

Sentence length
Less than 1 year
1 year or more

6%
94

3%
97

5%
95

Type of offense
Violent
Property
Drug
Other

**
**
**
**

**
**
**
**

24%
26
38
12

50%
45
4
2

37%
54
6
2

31%
52
8
9

45%

43%

46%

41
12

42
11

39
12

Race/Hispanic origin
Whitea
Blacka
Hispanic
American Indian/
Alaska Nativea
Asian/Native Hawaiian/
other Pacific Islandera

Adults entering parole
Discretionary parole
Mandatory parole
Reinstatement
Other
Adults leaving parole
Successful completion
Returned to
incarceration
With new sentence
With revocation
pending
Other
Absconderb
Other unsuccessfulb
Transferred
Death
Other

18
11
**
**
2
1
10

30
1
9
2
1
1
2

26
1
10
2
1
1
1

Note: For every characteristic there were
persons of unknown status or type. Detail
may not sum to total because of rounding.
**Not available.
--Less than 0.5%.
a
Excludes persons of Hispanic origin.
b
In 1995 “absconder” and “other unsuccessful” statuses were reported among “other.”

Percent of successful exits, by type
of supervision, 1995-2004
Percent of exits

Active supervision requires parolees to
80%
regularly report to a parole authority in
Probationers
person, by mail, or by telephone. This
60%
type of supervision steadily increased
as a percentage of all parolees from
40%
Parolees
78% in 1995, to 83% in 2000, to 85% in
20%
2004. Parolees on inactive status,
excluded from regular reporting but still
0%
on parole, decreased as a percentage
1995
1998
2001
2004
of all parolees, from 11% in 1995 to 3%
in 2004. Another 7% of all parolees in
2004 had absconded, 4% were super- Figure 6
vised out of State, and 1% were supervised through some other type of
Since 1995 the total estimated number
status.
of parolees discharged from supervision increased from 391,300 to
483,000 in 2004. During this time, the
About 4 in 10 parolees served a
number of successful exits increased
sentence for a drug offense
from 176,300 in 1995 to 223,400 in
About 95% of all parolees had been
2004.
sentenced to 1 year or more in State or
Estimated exits
Federal prison at yearend 2004. The
from parole
1995
2004
largest percentage of parolees had
Total
391,300
483,000
been convicted of a drug offense
Successful
176,300
223,400
(38%), followed by a property offense
Returned to
incarceration
160,000
187,000
(26%) and a violent offense (24%).
Transferred
9,800
5,400
Another 12% of parolees had been
Death
4,400
4,700
convicted of other offenses, such as
Othera
40,800
62,400
public order violations.
Note: Detail may not sum to total due
Rates of success for parolees have
remained stable since 1995
As a percentage of all discharges,
parolees who successfully met the
conditions of their supervision have
remained nearly stable between 1995
(45%) and 2004 (46%) (figure 6).
During this period the success rates for
parolees were consistently lower than
the success rates for probationers
(62% in 1995 and 60% in 2004).

to rounding.
a
Includes “absconder” and “other
unsuccessful” exits.

In 2004, 187,000 parolees were
discharged from supervision and
returned to incarceration because of a
rule violation or new offense, up from
160,000 in 1995. Despite the increase
in the number of parolees returned to
incarceration, the percentage of all
exits resulting from re-incarceration
have remained nearly stable between
1995 and 2004 (41% and 39%,
respectively).

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

9

Methodology
The Annual Probation Survey and the
Annual Parole Survey provide a count
of the total number of persons supervised in the community on January 1
and December 31, 2004, and a count
of the number entering and leaving
supervision during the year. These
surveys cover all 50 States, the District
of Columbia, and the Federal system.
The first annual report on probation
and parole appeared in 1979.
Data for the Federal system are from
the Administrative Office of the U.S.
Courts as provided to the BJS Federal
Justice Statistics Program.
Because many States update their
population counts, the January 1,
2004, numbers may differ from those
previously published for December 31,
2003.
Probation
The 2004 Annual Probation Survey
was sent to 468 respondents — 34
central State reporters, the District of
Columbia, the Federal system, and
432 separate State, county, or court

agencies. States with multiple reporters were Alabama (3), Arizona (2),
Colorado (8), Florida (43), Georgia (5),
Idaho (2), Kentucky (3), Michigan
(128), Missouri (2), Montana (4), New
Mexico (2), Ohio (187), Oklahoma (3),
Tennessee (3), Washington (35), and
West Virginia (2). A locality in Ohio did
not provide data. For this agency, the
12/31/03 population count was used
as the 1/1/04 and 12/31/04 counts.
Since 1995 the survey coverage has
been expanded to include 179
additional agencies. At yearend 2004,
219,195 probationers were under the
supervision of these agencies. For
year-to-year comparisons, use total
counts based on the same reporting
agencies — 3,266,837 in 1997 to
compare with the final 1996 counts;
3,417,613 in 1998 to compare with
final 1997; and 3,772,773 in 1999 to
compare with final 1998.
This report in portable document
format and in ASCII, its tables, and
related statistical data are available
at the BJS World Wide Web
Internet site:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

Office of Justice Programs
Partnerships for Safer Communities
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Parole
The 2004 Annual Parole Survey was
sent to 54 respondents, including 52
central reporters, the California Youth
Authority, and 1 municipal agency.
States with multiple reporters were
Alabama (2) and California (2).
Federal parole as defined here
includes supervised release, parole,
military parole, special parole,
and mandatory release.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics
is the statistical agency of the
U.S. Department of Justice.
Lawrence A. Greenfeld is the
director.
BJS Bulletins present the first
release of findings from permanent
data collection programs such as the
Annual Probation Survey and Annual
Parole Survey.
Lauren E. Glaze and Seri Palla wrote
and produced this report under the
supervision of Allen J. Beck. Christopher J. Mumola provided statistical
assistance. Todd D. Minton and
Paige M. Harrison provided statistical verification. Seri Palla and
Lauren Glaze also conducted the
collection and processing of data.
Tina Dorsey and Tom Hester
produced and edited the report.
Jayne Robinson prepared the report
for publication.
November 2005, NCJ 210676

10

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004

 

 

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