Numbers tell a story. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice used data from the Bureau of Justice to gather information about the correctional population and the facts are still relevant today.

From 2014 to 2015, the number of adults in correctional facilities decreased by 115,600 in the United States. Breaking it down, the community supervision population, defined as the estimated population of people supervised in the community on probation or parole, decreased by 2.6% from 2014 to 2015. Their total population in Michigan declined from 199,000 to 193,900 by the end of 2015.

The incarcerated population, which is the estimated number of people under the jurisdiction of state or federal persons or held in local jails, saw changes from 2014 to 2015. The total population in Michigan decreased from 59,400 to 57,700 by the end of 2015.

About 1 in 37 adults were under correctional supervision by the end of 2015, which is the lowest it’s been since 1994.

Quick facts:

  • The U.S. correctional population declined 1.7% during 2015 due to the decreases in community supervision and incarcerated populations.
  • By the end of 2015, the community supervision population fell to the lowest level since 2000.
  • The decline in the incarcerated population in 2015 represented the largest annual decrease since 2009.
  • The incarcerated population in 2015 fell to the lowest levels since 2004.
  • All of the decrease in the community supervision population during 2015 was due to a drop in the probation population.
  • In 2015, the majority of the decline in the incarcerated population resulted from the drop in the prison population.


This data highlights the changes the U.S. saw in correctional populations over one year. Although there is no single reason to explain this change, we believe that alternatives to prison can be beneficial for many people serving time.  We are encouraged by the decreasing number and aim to help more people find alternative options to serving time.