Texas has an incarceration rate of 840 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), meaning that it locks up a higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth. Read on to learn more about who is incarcerated in Texas and why.

219,000 people from Texas are behind bars

Additionally, the number of people impacted by county and city jails in Texas is much larger than the graph above would suggest, because people cycle through local jails relatively quickly. Each year, at least 505,000 different people are booked into local jails in Texas.

Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years

Today, Texas’s incarceration rates stand out internationally

In the U.S., incarceration extends beyond prisons and local jails to include other systems of confinement. The U.S. and state incarceration rates in this graph include people held by these other parts of the justice system, so they may be slightly higher than the commonly reported incarceration rates that only include prisons and jails. Details on the data are available in States of Incarceration: The Global Context. We also have a version of this graph focusing on the incarceration of women.

People of color are overrepresented in prisons and jails

See also our detailed graphs about Whites
and Blacks
in Texas prisons and jails.

Texas’s criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails

The high cost of being incarcerated in Texas

Prisons and jails in Texas are increasingly shifting the cost of incarceration to people behind bars and their families, hiding the true economic costs of mass incarceration:

Texas is one of 13 states that did not explicitly mention incarcerated people in their vaccination rollout plan, and is one of 15 prison systems that has not yet vaccinated more than 60% of the incarcerated population.

Texas is one of 13 states that did not implement any policies to accelerate releases, promote medical parole or compassionate release, prevent incarceration for technical violations of probation and parole, or hasten releases for people incarcerated on minor offenses.

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