by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
The Prison Policy Initiative recently published a table comparing states in terms of “unique jail admissions per 100,000 state residents” during 2016 and 2017. It’s not clear from the report whether the differences were caused primarily by differences in crime rates or by differences in pre-trial policies, but, either way, lower is surely better. That’s why I’m pleased to note that North Carolina is doing very well when it comes to jail admissions. In the period under consideration, there were 1,253 jail admissions per 100,000 residents in North Carolina. The national average was 1,506, and only 8 states had admission rates that were lower than ours. At the other end of the scale, 8 states–Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Dakota–all had more than 2,000 jail admissions per 100,000 residents.