Prison Facts



Federal and State Prisons   1,518,559

Territorial Prisons                 13,576

Local Jails                           785,556

ICE Facilities                        9,957

Military Facilities                 1,651

Jails in Indian Country         2,135

Juvenile Facilities                92,845 

The total population of incarcerated inmates for 2008  2,424,279                                                                                                   

The United States leads the industrialized world in incarceration. In fact, the U.S. rate of incarceration is five to eight times that of other highly developed countries. More than one in 100 adults in the U.S. is in jail or prison. They`re fifteen states that have a population less than that of the total population in prisons and jails. (click on image)



The Prison population in the United States is growing at an alarming rate.


Over 7.2 million persons on probation or parole or incarcerated in jail or prison at year-end 2006. “About 3.2% of the U.S. adult population, or 1 in every 31 adults, were incarcerated or on probation or parole at year-end 2006.” (click on image)


Hidden within our country is a dark, parallel world — a Prison Nation that is inhabited by 2.4 million American convicts. Increasing violence, extreme crowding, rampant drug use and gang warfare are part of daily life. Here are a few more facts about prisons. 



Why must believers be concerned about prison ministry? Because…

1.         Prison ministry has a direct Scriptural mandate (Matthew 25:31-40). Throughout the Bible are examples, descriptions, and commandments about prisons, prisoners, bondage, captivity, and slavery. The Bible mentions prison, prisoners, or imprisonment more than 130 times.

2.         We should follow the example Christ set by ministering to prisoners.

3.         Prisons meet the criteria of any mission field: Lost people and a need for laborers.

4.         God is not willing that any should perish—not even serial killers, rapists, and molesters (2 Peter 3:9). God loves even the “worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

5.         Chaplains cannot minister to more than a small percentage of inmates in their care. They cannot do all of the necessary work themselves, as there is just not enough time to do so.

6.         Many jails and prisons have no professional chaplains and many have no religious services at all.

7.         For every person incarcerated, there are three to five other people affected: Mates, children, parents, etc. Inmates and their families represent a large segment of society in any culture.

8.         False religions and cults are reaching out to prisoners. We must get there first with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!