Department of Justice statistics also showed that "noncitizens made up roughly the same portion of the U.S. prison population, 7.6 percent, as of the total U.S. population."
The number of people serving prison or jail sentences in the United States dropped 10 percent over the decade ending in 2017, the Department of Justice said Thursday, the latest evidence that a lower crime rate and changing sentencing policies are having an effect on the number of people behind bars.
After decades of increases, the latest figures show that the incarceration rate — the number of prisoners compared to the U.S. population — is at the lowest level in 20 years, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
From 2007 to 2017, incarceration rates in state and federal prisons and local jails dropped by more than 10 percent. And the population of prisoners serving a sentence of more than a year declined for the fourth year in a row, the BJS data showed.
Despite claims by the Trump administration that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate number of crimes, "noncitizens made up roughly the same portion of the U.S. prison population, 7.6 percent, as of the total U.S. population," the BJS said.