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Incarcerated Populations

The scope of this guide is meant to inform all who interact with it on related issues to mass incarceration and link interested parties to data and advocacy resources.

An image of 6 young adults looking into the camera, unsmiling.

Photo via Pexels

Who is Impacted?

Millions of Americans are directly impacted by the US corrections system. In 2021, over 5.4 million American adults (2.1%) were under the “supervision” of correctional systems including incarceration, probation, and parole (Carson & Kluckow, 2023). Because of the high prevalence of incarceration in the United States, it is important to have a sensitivity and understanding for those who have experienced incarceration (or those whose loved ones have been incarcerated).

Learn more about who is being affected by mass incarceration in the US by reviewing the information and resources on the subsequent pages. Note - this guide does not cover every vulnerable population targeted and victimized by the US criminal legal system - it simply highlights some of the more notable at-risk groups.

TED Talk on Mass Incarceration

Eve Abrams, an audio documentarian, provides several audio vignettes and snippets from several individuals who have family members in the US criminal legal system as well as accounts from those who have been incarcerated firsthand. This TED talk dives into the frequency and disparity of incarceration in the United States.