Bulletin Reports

Probation and Parole

At the end of 2015, an estimated 4.65 million adults—about 1 in 53—were on probation, parole, or some other form of postprison supervision. This was a decline of 62,300 offenders from year-end 2014 and the lowest number of adults under community supervision since 2000. Probationers accounted for 81 percent of adults in the program, and the probation population consisted of four times as many individuals as the parole populace.

A decrease of 78,700 offenders serving on probation contributed to the decline in the adult community corrections population from 2014 to 2015. The reduction was offset slightly by an increase in parolees, which grew from about 857,700 to 870,500 during that period. The number of probationers entering and exiting the system declined by more than 4 percent from 2014 to 2015, from 4.19 million to 4.01 million. Probation entries declined by about 5 percent during this period, down from 2.07 million to 1.97 million. Exits from probation declined by approximately 4 percent, with 2.13 million in 2014 to 2.04 million in 2015. Individuals entering parole increased by 14,100 from 2014 to 2015, and the number exiting rose by 10,900.

Since 2005, the average rate of exits from probation has remained consistent, ranging from 52 to 55 per 100 probationers. The completion rate—turnover due to conclusion of the term of supervision through full-term or early discharge—was 33 exits per 100 during 2015, which was similar to the rate in 2005 (32 per 100) and down slightly from 2009 (35 to 36 per 100).

With the exception of 2009 and 2013, each year from 2005 to 2015, the number of individuals supervised on parole increased. The exit rate rose from 33 per 100 in 2014 to 54 per 100 in 2015.

While the majority of probationers were male, the percentage of females increased from 23 percent in 2005 to 25 percent in 2015. In both years, more than half of probationers were Caucasian, 30 percent African American, and 13 percent Hispanic or Latino. During that same period, probationers supervised for felonies rose from 50 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in 2015.

In 2015, 87 percent of parolees were male, which was similar to percentages observed in both 2014 and 2005 with 88 percent each. Also in 2015, 44 percent of parolees were Caucasian, 38 percent African American, and 16 percent Hispanic or Latino. The number of parolees being supervised for drug offenses decreased from 37 percent in 2005 to 31 percent in 2015. At the same time, parolees in the system for violent crimes grew from 26 percent to 32 percent.

The full report, Probation and Parole in the United States, 2015, NCJ 250230, can be found at www.bjs.gov.