A new report from the Prison Policy Initiative, Arrest, Release, Repeat reveals that about 4.9 million people are jailed in the U.S. each year. Most of the 4.9 million are only arrested once, but, 1 in 4 detainees are arrested more than once a year, and a whopping 428,000 people are arrested three or more times a year.
The Prison Policy Initiative are a US based, non-profit, non-partisan organisation who produce research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalisation.
Report co-author, ALexi Jones, said, “4.9 million people go to jail every year – that’s a higher number than the populations of 24 US states. But what’s even more troubling is that people who are jailed have high rates of economic and health problems, problems that local governments should not be addressing through incarceration.”
The report reveals that:
- 49% of people with multiple arrests in the past year had annual incomes below $10,000 compared to 36% of people arrested only once and 21% of people with no arrests.
- Despite making up only 13% of the general population, black men and women account for 21% of people who were arrested just once and 28% of people arrested multiple times.
- People with multiple arrests are much more likely than the general public to suffer from substance use disorders and other illnesses, and much less likely to have access to health care.
- The vast majority of people with multiple arrest are jailed for nonviolent offenses such as drug possession, theft or trespassing.
In a series of policy recommendations, the report explains how counties can choose to stop continuously jailing their most vulnerable residents and instead solve the economic and public health problems that often lead to arrest.