Criminal Record Statistics That Can Shock You In 2023

Nele van Hout
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Updated · May 26, 2023

Nele van Hout
Editor | Joined October 2021

Nele’s love for writing started at a young age, but didn’t fully blossom until she decided to pa... | See full bio


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Most people consider America a global technological leader with employment opportunities and high living standards. But did you know that the United States is also the worldwide leader in incarceration?

According to the records of the Bureau of Prisons, there were 159,357 federal inmates as of May 18, 2023, of whom about 50% were detained for federal narcotics offenses.

Here are some startling US criminal record statistics if you want to learn more. 

Disturbing Criminal Record Statistics

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

  • Over 80 million (1 in every 3) US adults have a criminal record.
  • There are 2.068 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 42% of the total US population but 67% of the US prison population.
  • 5.17 million Americans are forbidden to vote in the 2020 election because they have a felony record. 
  • 33% of US adults hold a criminal record as of 2023.
  • The incarceration rate in the United States is the sixth highest globally, at 505 per 100,000 people, as of January 2023.
  • The average bail bond in the US is $10,000.

General Criminal Record Statistics

A criminal record can damage one’s reputation and ability to find employment. Here are some general criminal record statistics for US citizens:

1. Authorities recorded over 6,657 new convictions in the US in February 2023.

(Trac Reports)

This number is 11.7% lower than the previous month and 24.1% higher than the past year.

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

(CBS News)

According to the latest criminal conviction statistics, over 80 million Americans hold a criminal record, making up roughly one out of every three US adults. Around 10% of them (8.0 million) have been imprisoned at least once in their lifetime. 

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


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

4. By age 23, nearly 50% of black males had been detained at least once. 

(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. 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 state in the US:

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

(Source: World Population Review)

US crime statistics show that Mississippi currently has the highest murder rate. It records 20.5 murders per 100,000 residents. You are twice as likely to witness a murder in Mississippi as anywhere else in the US.

The state with the second-highest murder rate is Louisiana. It also has the most gun violence, with 19.9 murders per 100,000 people, followed by Alabama, with 14.2 homicides per 100,000 people.

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

(Consumer Affairs)

Looking at the crime rates per state, Maine has the lowest violent crime rate of any state: it ranks 2nd lowest in murder, 19th in rape, first in aggravated assault, and 4th in robbery. Of the three property offenses, it is also among the top 10.

Criminal Justice Statistics for 2023

The FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) are the primary sources of government crime statistics in the United States. Here are the statistics of the prevalent crimes in the US, which include crimes against property and crimes against persons. 

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

(Legal Jobs)

Property crime is the most common type. 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.

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

(Legal Jobs)

According to the latest available criminal record statistics, the Bureau of Justice can only record 35% of the property crimes committed in the US. These crimes are challenging to solve, so it is unsurprising that only 19% of reported property crimes are solved and closed.

9. There were 76 reported aggravated assaults in February 2023.

(Rockymount Telegram)

Over the past couple of years, aggravated assault cases have been the most reported type of crime in the US. There were 76 aggravated assaults this year as of the end of February, compared to 40 aggravated assaults in February 2022, showing a 90% increase.

10. Homicides are the most frequently solved type of crime.

(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 for 2023

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 on wrongful convictions:

11. African-American convicted murderers are 80% more likely to be innocent than others.

(Death Penalty Info) 

Unfortunately, race plays a role in wrongful convictions. African-American prisoners convicted of murder are 80% more likely to be innocent than other convicted murderers. The number is even higher if these people are convicted of killing white victims. In the United States, blacks are nearly 7½  times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than whites.

12. Out of the 417 exonerations, more than 268 occurred in 2022.

(NRE Newspaper)

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, 268 exonerations were recorded in 2022. Those people were reported to have lost 11.5 years to wrongful convictions.

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

(University of Michigan) 

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

A criminal background can significantly make it harder to get a job in the US. Many previous convicts remain jobless or restricted to blue-collar employment options. Let’s take a look at some criminal record employment statistics.

14. 27% of ex-convicts in the US are unemployed.

(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 exceeds the nation’s unemployment rate during the Great Depression (25%). These statistics demonstrate how challenging it can be to be employed if you have been previously convicted.


An SHRM survey showed that 65% of managers and 78% of HR professionals are willing to overlook substance-related felonies when hiring new employees, while 67% of managers and 70% of HR professionals are prepared to hire job seekers with previous records of misdemeanors such as shoplifting.

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

(Russell Webster)

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, including sexual offenses. 

17. 12 states offer rehabilitation certificates to those with a criminal history.


Employers in 12 US states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Tennessee—offer rehabilitation certifications for potential criminal record employees. 

Felony Statistics

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

18. 64% of males in their 30s are unemployed and have a criminal record.


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

19. Overall, index crime increased by 38.5% in January 2022.

(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 massive increase from the 6,905 in 2021. There were 940 reported robberies in 2021 and 1,251 in 2022. Shootings rose from 76 to 100, while grand theft increased from 2,559 to 2,047. Murder experienced a welcomed decline from 33 to 28 in 2022.

20. 15% of the African-American male population has served time.

(UGA Today)

The University of Georgia's study shows that around 15% of African-American males have served time in the US.

Incarceration Statistics 

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

21. In 2022, Oklahoma had the highest incarceration rate.

(World Population Review)  

The US has the largest prison population in the world, with 2 million people in prison as of January 2022. Regarding percentage ratios, roughly 0.7% of Americans are in jail, with Oklahoma having the highest incarceration rate. 

22. In 2021, there were 1,240 reported black prisoners for every 100,000 black US adults.

(US News)   

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 1,240 black prisoners. In contrast, there are only 261 white prisoners for every 100,000 white US adults, whereas Latino Americans are imprisoned at 349 per 100,000 residents.

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

(Prison Policy Initiative) 

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


Criminal record statistics are essential to the state, the citizen, and society in general. The legal system also used these numbers to determine the resources needed for studying and comprehending the criminal justice system. 

There you have it, then. To improve your knowledge, you must know some essential information regarding criminal records—make sure you get the numbers right!


What percentage of people are criminals?

Out of 80 million people, 33% of US adults have a criminal record.

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 terrible 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, a 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.


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
10 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

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