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Facts: Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation

Layzim Dawson, inmate at the Clark County Detention Center, looking through window in doorway.

Layzim Dawson, inmate at the Clark County Detention Center, looking through window in doorway. (View larger version)

Photograph by Marcus Burnett/ National Geographic Channels/ Part2 Pictures

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  • More than one in 100 American adults is behind bars. Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 in 2007, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

  • There are more than half a million inmates sitting in America's jails because they cannot make bail. Some will wait behind bars for as long as a year before their cases make it to court and it will cost taxpayers about $9 Billion a year to house them.

  • Twenty years ago, most defendants were released on their own recognizance. But today, most defendants are given bail — and most have to pay a bail bondsman to afford it.

  • Between midyear 2008 and midyear 2009, the confined inmate population in county and city jails (767,620) declined by 2.3% (down 17,936 inmates). Since midyear 2005, growth in the U.S. jail population has slowed, but this is the first actual decline in the jail population since the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) began the Annual Survey of Jails in 1982.

  • With the largest civilian population in Nevada, Las Vegas is home to the largest law enforcement agency in the state with almost 3,000 officers as of 2009.

  • Las Vegas police in 2011 reduced crime in five major categories: homicides, robberies, auto thefts, traffic fatalities and sexual assaults. The decline in those categories at times is steep when looking at the past five years -- auto thefts have dropped 66 percent since 2006 while traffic fatalities have dropped 57 percent in the same time period.

  • Las Vegas crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 10 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Las Vegas for 2012 is expected to be higher than in 2009.

  • In 2010, Las Vegas ranked 76 in crime rate with a score of 97.54

  • Las Vegas recorded 312 more burglaries in 2010 than 2009, a 2.3 percent increase. Nationally, property crimes declined 2.8 percent during that time. Most crimes in the Las Vegas area followed a national downward trend last year, but aggravated assaults and burglaries rose in 2010, according to FBI data.

  • The FBI reporting shows a downward trend in violent crimes overall in 2011, however property crimes are almost on par compared to the year before. The Las Vegas murder rate saw one of the most significant drops and indicates that 2011 will have one of the lowest total recorded in recent years.

  • At midyear 2011, about 6 in 10 inmates were not convicted, but were in jail awaiting court action on a current charge—a rate unchanged since 2005. About 4 in 10 inmates were sentenced offenders or convicted offenders awaiting sentencing.

  • The U.S. has a greater percentage of its population locked up than any other country in the world. Despite budget cuts and tax shortfalls housing inmates costs the country almost $600 billion a year.

  • Nevada prisons are operating at over 100% capacity.

  • Over half of those under 18 in custody have a history of being in care or involvement with social services.

  • Estimates of the total number children who experience a parent being in prison each year vary from 120,000 to 160,000.

  • More than half of male and 72 per cent of female prisoners had no qualifications when sentenced and 37 per cent were at or below level 1 skills in reading.

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