Criminal Record Statistics That Can Shock You In 2022

Nele van Hout
Nele van Hout

Updated · Aug 31, 2022

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Most people think of America as a global leader in technology, employment opportunities, and living standards. But did you know that the United States is also the global leader when it comes to incarcerations?

Here are some shocking US criminal record statistics.

Disturbing Criminal Record Statistics

The following are some mind-blowing statistics that you need to know.

  • One in every three US adults has a criminal record.
  • There are 2.3 million people in prison in the US, a 500% increase over the last four decades.
  • 27% of ex-convicts in the US are unemployed.
  • Less than half of all crimes are reported.
  • People of color only make up 37% of the total US population, but 67% of the US prison population.
  • 5.17 million Americans are forbidden to cast their votes in the 2020 election because they have a felony record.
  • The average bail bond in the US is $10,000.

General Criminal Record Statistics

Having a criminal record can do lasting damage to one’s reputation and their ability to find employment. Here are some general criminal record statistics of US citizens.

1. Authorities recorded over 5,334 new convictions in the US in January 2022.

(Source: Trac Reports)

This number is 18.7% higher than the previous month and 39.5% higher than the past year.

2. One in three US adults holds a criminal record.

(Source: NCSL and Forbes)

According to the latest criminal conviction records, over 77 million Americans hold a criminal record, which makes up for roughly one out of every three US adults. Around 10% of them (7.7 million) have been imprisoned at least once in their lifetime. 

3. Only half of the FBI’s criminal records are updated.

(Source: WSJ)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a nationwide record of any arrests. But just half of those records are up-to-date. Many of them are not removed or updated in the master criminal records databases once cases are thrown out locally.

4. Nearly half of black males have been arrested at least once by age 23.

(Source: University of South Carolina)

The University of South Carolina put together a study with the data from a 16-year US Bureau of Labor Statistics survey to look at US crime statistics. The research showed that almost half of black American males (49%) were arrested at least once before their 23rd birthday. In comparison, this number was 40% for white males and 44% for Hispanic males.

Crime Statistics by States

Violent crimes affect families, communities, and entire neighborhoods, which can have lasting consequences. The following are some crime statistics by states in the US.

5. Out of all states, Louisiana has the highest number of homicides.

(Source: World Population Review)

US crime statistics show that Louisiana currently has the highest murder rate. It records 14.4 murders per 1000,000 residents. You are twice as likely to witness a murder in Louisiana than anywhere else in the US.

The state with the second-highest murder rate is Alabama. With a record of 12.9 murders per 100,000 residents, it also has the most gun violence.

6. Maine has the lowest violent crime rate in the US.

(Source: Statista)

Looking at the crime rates per state, Maine sees the lowest numbers. The state only has 115.2 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. Following are New Hampshire and Connecticut, with 152.5 and 183.6 per 100,000 of the population.

7. 1,049 homicides were committed in Texas in 2021.

(Source: The Texan)

Texas authorities recorded a total of 1,049 homicides in 2021. This is an additional 116 victims from 2020s 933 homicides. Houston (475) had the highest number of homicides while Dallas recorded 220 homicides.

Criminal Justice Statistics

The FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) are the two primary sources of government crime statistics in the United States.

8. Property crime is more common compared to violent crime.

(Source: World Population Review)

Property crime is the most common type of crime. It includes theft, robbery, car and vehicle theft, etc. It is most common in countries like Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador, and Guyana where tourists are robbed and assaulted.

9. Only 1 in 3 property crimes in the US are reported.

(Source: Legal Jobs)

According to the latest available criminal record statistics, the Bureau of Justice is only able to record 35% of the property crimes committed in the US. These types of crimes are quite difficult to solve so it is not surprising that only 19% of reported property crimes are solved and closed.

10. Law enforcement cleared only 70% of all homicides reported in 2020.

(Source: The Marshall Project)

According to an analysis by The Marshall Project,  law enforcement was able to solve 1,200 more murders than the previous year. This signifies a 14% increase in clearance rates. On the downside, there was a 30% increase in murders in 2020. Basically, 70% of all homicides were solved.

11. In 2021, the number of aggravated assault cases increased by 12%.

(Source: The Atlantic)

Over the past couple of years, aggravated assault cases have been the highest reported type of crime in the US. In 2019, 52.1% of aggravated assault crimes were reported. Current violent crime stats show that this number has increased by 12%.

12. Homicides are the most frequently solved types of crimes.

(Source: Pew Research)

According to crime conviction statistics, the police solved 61.4% of murders in 2019. When looking at other types of crimes, the number is much lower. Out of all reported aggravated assaults, only 52.3% were solved, and the number is only 32.9% for rape cases and 30.5% for robberies.

Wrongful Conviction Stats

Not only can a wrongful conviction destroy one’s life, but it can also have a ripple effect that lasts long after the conviction is lifted or the penalty is completed. Here are some mind-boggling statistics of wrongful convictions.

13. African-American convicted murderers are 50% more likely to be innocent than others.

(Source: University of California Irvine)

Unfortunately, race plays a role in wrongful convictions. African-American prisoners convicted of murder are 50% more likely to be innocent than other convicted murderers. The number is even higher if these people are convicted of killing white victims.

14. There were 161 exonerations in 2021.

(Source: NRE Annual Report)

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, there were 161 exonerations recorded in 2021. Those people were reported to have lost 11.5 years to wrongful convictions.

15. A black prisoner serving time for sexual assault is 3½ times more likely to be innocent than a white convict.

(Source: University of California Irvine)

Criminal justice statistics show that African-American males serving time for sexual assault are up to 3½ times more likely to be innocent than white males convicted of the same crime.

Criminal Record Employment Statistics

Having a criminal record can make it exponentially harder to find a job in the United States. Many previous convicts remain jobless or restricted to blue-collar employment options. Let’s take a look at some criminal record employment statistics.

16. 27% of ex-convicts in the US are unemployed.

(Source: Prison Policy)

Statistics show that more than a quarter of formerly incarcerated people in the US failed to find a job after they were released. This number is higher than the nation’s unemployment rate during the Great Depression (25%). Statistics like this show how hard it can be to find a job when you have a criminal record.

(Source: SHRM)

A SHRM survey showed that 65% of managers and 78% of HR professionals are willing to overlook substance-related felonies when hiring new employees. When looking at job seekers with criminal records, including misdemeanors (like shoplifting), 67% of managers and 70% of HR professionals are prepared to hire them.

18. Criminal records that include sexual offenses are least likely to be overlooked by employers.

(Source: SHRM)

According to statistics, criminal records that include sexual offenses are the least likely to be overlooked by employers. Only 11% of managers and 9% of HR professionals are willing to hire someone with a criminal history that includes sexual offenses.

19. Six states are offering rehabilitation certificates to those with a criminal history.

(Source: SHRM)

Employers in six US states (California, Nevada, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, and Illinois) offer rehabilitation certifications for potential employees who have a criminal record.

Felony Statistics

A felony is a crime that is considered more severe as compared to a misdemeanor. Crimes include murder, kidnap, rape, arson, or burglary. Here are some shocking felony statistics.

20. 64% of the unemployed men in their 30s have a criminal record.

(Source: CNBC)

Recent criminal record stats show that about 6% of men who are 35 years old are unemployed. Of this number, 64% have a criminal record. 46% of them have been convicted of a crime while 27% have been imprisoned.

21. Overall index crime increased by 38.5% in January 2022.

(Source: NYC Gov)

As of January 2022, New York City authorities reported a 38.5% increase in overall index crime. The 9,566 index crime is a huge increase from the 6,905 in 2021. Robbery increased from 940 in 2021 to 1,251 in 2022. Shootings increased from 76 to 100 while grand larceny increased from 2,559 to 2,047. Murder experienced a welcomed decline from 33 to 28 in 2022.

22. 15% of the African-American male population has served time.

(Source: UGA Today)

According to research carried out by the University of Georgia, around 15% of African-American males have served time in the US.

Incarceration Statistics

In the United States, incarceration is considered to be the primary form of punishment. The following are some mass incarceration statistics in the United States.

23. Louisiana has the highest imprisonment rate in the US.

(Source: World Population Review)

The US has the largest prison population in the world. As of January 2022, there are 31,584 prisoners in Louisiana, making it the state with the largest prison population in the US. This figure signifies an imprisonment rate of 684 per 100,000 persons.

24. There are 1,501 black prisoners for every 100,000 black US adults.

(Source: Pew Research)

While the average number of prisoners per 100,000 adults in the US is 698, the number is much higher when looking at African-Americans. For every 100,000 black US adults, there are 1,501 black prisoners. In contrast, there are only 268 white prisoners for every 100,000 white US adults.

25. The average bail bond is $10,000 in the US.

(Source: Prison Policy Initiative)

According to statistics, the median bail amount for a felony in the US is $10,000. This number is more than eight months of income for the typical prisoner.

Wrap Up

So, there you have it. Some essential criminal record statistics you should know to increase your knowledge. Just make sure you get the numbers right!

FAQ.


What percentage of people are criminals?

33% of US adults hold a criminal record, which amounts to 77 million people.

What percentage of the population are convicted felons?

United States crime statistics show that around 8% of people are convicted felons. The percentage is much higher for African American males, at 33%.

What looks bad on a background check?

A few things look bad on a background check, including any criminal records, multiple periods of unemployment, poor credit scores, inconsistencies on your resume, bad references, failed drug tests, bad driving history, and more. If you’re worried about what may show up, you can use one of the best background check sites to see what future employers can see.

What percentage of arrests lead to convictions?

According to criminal record statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 68% of arrests lead to convictions in the US. This number can differ depending on the type of crime, however.

How long are criminal records kept?

Criminal records are kept for an indefinite period.

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Nele van Hout

Nele van Hout

Nele’s love for writing started at a young age, but didn’t fully blossom until she decided to pack her bags, move to the UK, and pursue a degree in English and Creative Writing. Her interest in anything digital marketing was sparked after starting a travel blog right before graduating. Working as an editor for TechJury has fuelled that passion even further. Not to mention taking advantage of all the tech facts she can now use to impress people at parties.

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1 comment
Micheal Platy
2 months ago
How can you believe these statistics when there start out wrong. A felon can in fact vote. In fact there is a bill that brings voting to inmates in prison. No I don't believe anything I have read here.Mi
Reply

Deyan
2 months ago
Yes, felons can vote, but in 2020 5.17 million Americans were disenfranchised, according to the Sentencing Project's report.
Reply