States Sending the Most People to Prison

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10. Idaho
> Sentenced prisoners: 499 per 100,000 residents
> Total sentenced prisoners: 7,985 (19th least)
> Violent crime rate: 200.9 per 100,000 residents (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (19th highest)

In 2012, 499 people were incarcerated for every 100,000 residents of Idaho, up from 487 a year earlier. Of the nearly 8,000 sentenced prisoners in the state, 1,008 were women, an increase of 13.9% from the prior year, among the highest growth rates in the country. Unlike most states with high incarceration rates, Idaho had a relatively low crime rate. It had the sixth-lowest violent crime rate and the lowest robbery rate in the country. Idaho also had the fourth-lowest property crime rate in 2011.

9. Missouri
> Sentenced prisoners: 518 per 100,000 residents
> Total sentenced prisoners: 31,244
> Violent crime rate: 447.4 per 100,000 residents (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.8% (24th highest)

In 2012, there was one person serving a sentence of more than one year for every 200 Missouri residents. But unlike much of the rest of the country, Missouri’s prison population actually rose 1.3% in 2012. Somewhat alarming, the state is running out of prison space and, as of late July, had room for just 100 more inmates before reaching full capacity, according to CBS St. Louis. Officials contend the state can handle more inmates. However, Missouri’s violent crime rate, among the highest in the county as of 2011, means any open spaces are quickly filled.

8. Florida
> Sentenced prisoners: 524 per 100,000 residents
> Total sentenced prisoners: 101,930 (3rd most)
> Violent crime rate: 515.3 per 100,000 residents (8th highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.0% (17th highest)

The number of people in Florida serving prison sentences fell from 537 per 100,000 in 2011 to 524 in 2012. Experts attributed the drop to a decrease in the state’s crime rate. Nevertheless, Florida had the eighth-highest violent crime rate in 2011, with more than 515 crimes committed per 100,000 residents. Specifically, Florida’s robbery and aggravated assault rates were both the ninth highest of all states. Despite the large prison population, Florida closed 10 correctional facilities in 2012, more than any other state.

7. Georgia
> Sentenced prisoners: 542 per 100,000 residents
> Total sentenced prisoners: 53,990 (5th most)
> Violent crime rate: 373.2 per 100,000 residents (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.1% (5th highest)

Although the number of sentenced prisoners in Georgia stayed roughly the same in 2012 as it was in 2011, the number of female inmates declined 7.1%, compared to a 2.3% drop across the country. While Georgia had close to average violent crime rates in 2011, it had the fourth-highest property crime rate in the country. The state is home to a high number of poor individuals who are at higher risk of committing crime and being incarcerated. The poverty rate of 19% in 2011 was higher than all but four other states. Meanwhile, the percentage of people without a high school diploma was among the top third of all states.

6. Arizona
> Sentenced prisoners: 583 per 100,000 residents
> Total sentenced prisoners: 38,402 (10th most)
> Violent crime rate: 405.9 per 100,000 residents (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.0% (tied for 7th highest)

Arizona had 583 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 residents as of 2012, well above the national rate of 418 per 100,000. The state also had among the most sentenced female prisoners relative to population of any state, at 101 per 100,000 female residents. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office processes at least 7,400 inmates per month, according to its website, and is known for its outdoor desert jail, Tent City. The Department of Justice is currently investigating whether Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office committed civil rights abuses.