Prison Journalism Navigator

Incarceration Data and Other Resources

The availability of data particular to prisons and state corrections departments can vary, but many excellent resources are available to provide a good starting point to understand the U.S. criminal legal system and incarceration. Here are a few sources and reports that we rely on to help add context to our writers’ stories:

DATA SOURCES

ARTICLES & REPORTS 

Overview 

  • Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023”: The Prison Policy Initiative takes on the arduous task of aggregating disparate information and making sense of them through reports, fact sheets and articles that are presented succinctly in a way that journalists will find particularly helpful. “The Whole Pie” is a comprehensive study it releases annually with valuable information about the size and breakdown of the U.S. carceral system. Beat reporters might find it useful to get on their mailing list.
  • Criminal Justice Fact Sheet: By NAACP. 
  • Trends in Incarceration: Trends, including incarceration rates in women and disparities in geography by Vera Institute.
  • Prisoners in 2021 — Statistical Tables: A study released in Dec. 2022 by the U.S. Department of Justice. 
  • State by State Data: A resource page by the Sentencing Project. 

Children

COVID-19

Economics of Prison

Families of Incarcerated

Food/Nutrition

Health/Mental Health

LGBTQ

Prison Conditions

  • Prison Conditions: From the Equal Justice Initiative’s website.
  • Death and Dying in Prison: A comprehensive list of Prison Policy Initiative’s reports on this topic.
  • Deaths in Jail: An investigation of public records by Reuters on mortality deaths in jail.
  • Deaths Behind Bars (Louisiana): The first comprehensive collection and analysis of deaths behind bars in Louisiana by the Technology and Legal Innovation Clinic at Loyola Law School, New Orleans.
  • Deaths Behind Bars (South Carolina): The first comprehensive collection and analysis of deaths behind bars in South Carolina by the University of South Carolina School of Law in partnership with the Technology and Legal Innovation Clinic at Loyola Law School, New Orleans.
  • Uncounted Deaths in America’s Prisons and Jails: A staff report from the U.S. Senate’s permanent subcommittee on investigations for a Sept. 2022 hearing.

Race

Religion

Solitary Confinement

Women