Historical Statistics on Prisoners in State and Federal institutions, Yearend 1925-1986: [United States] (ICPSR 8912)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics


This data collection supplies annual data on the size of the prison population and the size of the general population in the United States for the period 1925 to 1986. These yearend counts include tabulations for prisons in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the federal prisons, and are intended to provide a measure of the overall size of the prison population. The figures were provided from a voluntary reporting program in which each state, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported summary statistics as part of the statistical information on prison populations in the United States.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. HISTORICAL STATISTICS ON PRISONERS IN STATE AND FEDERAL INSTITUTIONS, YEAREND 1925-1986: UNITED STATES. ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 1997. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08912.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08912.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    crime, criminal justice system, inmates, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1925--1986

Date of Collection:   

  • 1925--1986

Universe:    All prisoners in the United States from 1925-1986.

Data Type(s):    aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) This data collection preserves what was reported in the historical record. No attempts were made to correct any errors that may have existed in the record. (2) Appendix C is available only in hardcopy form upon request from ICPSR.


Data Source:

National Prisoner Statistics Reports, general population counts, and estimates from "Current Population Reports," Series P-25, conducted by the Bureau of the Census

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1989-05-04

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 1997-06-24 SAS and SPSS data definition statements for the logical record length version of the data have been added to this collection, and the codebook was reformatted to reinstate truncated lines.

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