Criminal Record Statistics That Can Shock You In 2024

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Updated · Jan 02, 2024

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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 also has the highest incarceration rate worldwide?

Compared to the natural rate of incarceration worldwide, which is 100 prisoners per 100,000 population, the US’s rate is 500 prisoners per 100,000. As of May 2023, there were 159,357 federal inmates in the US, 50% of whom were detained for federal narcotics offenses.

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

  • 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 in the US. 
  • 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 505 per 100,000 people as of January 2023.
  • The average bail bond in the US is $10,000.

Disturbing Criminal Record Statistics

For some people, a criminal record is a reminder that their chances for a second chance are slim. According to data, formerly incarcerated women suffer the most, as 43.6% are unemployed after release.

Their criminal records are getting out of the way of gaining an appropriate living condition, especially when it comes to employment opportunities. Even Ant-Man was no exception:

Below are more disturbing statistics about criminal records that will paint the whole picture for you.

General Criminal Record Statistics

A criminal record contains a person’s criminal conviction history. It’s one of the records that employers scrutinize during pre-employment background checks. In the end, a criminal record can make or break a person’s acceptance of their application.

That’s why knowing how much criminal records can affect individuals and society is good. So here are 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.

Following this statistic, people question America’s mass incarceration rates. Although a huge study can be carried out about this and find exact answers, here’s what people hypothesize on:

2. 1 in 3 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.

Even dismissed charges can appear as a criminal record. That includes arrests, convictions, felony offenses, misdemeanor crimes, and parole violations.

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 criminal records databases once cases are thrown out locally.

This contributes to the seldom imperfect accuracy of the FBI’s background check services. According to the FBI’s quality control evaluations, their background checks are approximately 99.3% to 99.8% accurate

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

(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. There are also white-collar crimes making up 5% of federal prosecutions annually.

The following are more crime statistics by state in the US that you must know:

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

(World Population Review)

US crime statistics show that Mississippi currently has the highest murder rate in the country. It records 23.70 murders per 100,000 residents. With that, you are twice as likely to witness a murder in Mississippi as anywhere else in the US.

Apart from Mississippi, below are other states in the US where the murder rate is high:



Murder Rate per 100,000 people



23.70 murders



21.30 murders



15.90 murders


New Mexico

15.30 murders


South Carolina

13.40 murders

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 in the US. Moreover, these are its ranks per crime:

  • 1st in aggravated assault
  • 2nd lowest in murder
  • 4th in robbery
  • 19th in rape

How come the state of Maine has such low crime rates? It has to do with its low population density, the number of people per square mile. Moreover, Maine’s poverty rate is also low.

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. Both collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information regarding crime in the country.

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, Statista)

Property crime, like burglary, is the most common type of criminal activity in the US. Other activities considered property crime includes the following:

  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Larceny
  • Car and vehicle theft

Here’s the data on the top US states with the highest property crime reports in 2021:



Number of property crime reports








North Carolina








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 only records 35% of property crimes in the US. 

These crimes are challenging to unravel when reported. Unsurprisingly, 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. An activity resulting in purposely inflicting bodily injuries on someone else is considered aggravated assault.

Statistics show 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 data, the police solved 61.4% of murders in 2019.  When looking at other types of crimes, the number is much lower.


Clearance rate

Aggravated assault






Wrongful Conviction Stats for 2023

A wrongful conviction can destroy one’s life by creating a ripple effect that lasts long after the conviction is lifted or the penalty is completed. 

Unfortunately, wrongful convictions are increasingly prevalent. 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 7.5 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than whites.

12. The US saw 417 exonerations in 2022.

(NRE Newspaper)

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, more than 90 of these exonerations were from Cook County in Chicago, Illinois. Between 2003 and 2011, there was a corrupt police officer that framed numerous people in the area.

Apart from that, Illinois also has over 50 exonerations for men who have been convicted of weapons violations. It was therefore found by the Illinois Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.

13. A black prisoner serving time for sexual assault is 3.5 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 3.5 times more likely to be innocent than white males convicted of the same crime.

Although there is a chance for these men to be exonerated, the thing is, the damage has already been done. Take it from this article about a 56-year-old man exonerated from rape charges:

“Being in prison when you know you shouldn’t be there is hard to describe. It’s crushing. And then all those years pass — years where you are fearful of death almost every second, conditioned in ways that bring on paranoia and anger. And then suddenly, finally, you are free. And you’re dropped into society so damaged that you don’t know how to fit in. That’s the part of these exonerations that people don’t realize. They think you’re fine because you’re finally free, and you look, on the outside, like you’re fine. But you’re not. On the inside, you’re spinning. You’re lost and struggling with so much. It’s hard.”

Criminal Record Employment Statistics

A criminal background can make getting a job in the US harder. Standard background checks examine a person’s criminal record, among many things.

Many previous convicts remain jobless or restricted to blue-collar employment options. Let’s look at some criminal record employment statistics that prove such occurrences.

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, employers don’t overlook sexual offenses the most, especially since data shows 30,000 women report they get sexually assaulted in their job.

Still, this type of violence can be carried out by anyone, not just people with criminal records. However, scrutinizing records of sexual offenses help avoid workplace violence, thus ensuring the work environment stays safe for everyone.

That puts only 11% of managers and 9% of HR professionals willing to hire someone with a criminal history, including sexual offenses.

Still, the US government ensured to stop prejudice against people with criminal records ready to turn a new leaf. Businesses are encouraged to implement a practice called fair chance hiring.

17. According to executives, 82% of their ex-offender hires are as successful as their average hires.

(CNBC, Northwestern University)

Some employers avoid hiring ex-offenders as they have a psychological profile different from other hires. But when given a chance, people with criminal records have a higher retention rate, thus keeping their jobs longer.

🎉 Fun Fact:

People with criminal records are less likely to be fired than those without blunders. They are also less likely to quit voluntarily. This is due to the struggle to undergo numerous job applications and get rejected because of their criminal record. 

18. 12 states offer rehabilitation certificates to those with a criminal history.


Employers in the following US states offer rehabilitation certifications for potential criminal record employees:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Tennessee

Felony Statistics

Crimes more severe than a misdemeanor are called a felony. That includes:

  • Rape
  • Arson
  • Murder
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping

These crimes are widespread, more than you know. Because of that, the majority of the population has a criminal record related to them.

Learn more about shocking felony statistics below:

19. 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. Among those with records, 46% have been convicted of a crime, while 27% have been imprisoned.

20. 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 4,047. On the other hand, murder experienced a welcomed decline from 33 to 28 in 2022.


21. 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:

22. As of March 2023, Mississippi had the highest incarceration rate of 575 people convicted per 100,000 residents.

(World Population Review)

As mentioned before, the US has the largest prison population in the world, with 2 million prisoners as of January 2022. Regarding percentage ratios, roughly 0.7% of Americans are in jail.

Looking at the prison population by state, Mississippi leads with 575 convicts per 100,000 of its population. Here are other states with high incarceration rates:



Incarceration rate



575 per 100,000



564 per 100,000



559 per 100,000



555 per 100,000



453 per 100,000

23. For every 100,000 black US adults, 1,240 were prisoners in 2021.

(US News)

While the average number of prisoners per 100,000 adults in the US is 698, the number is much higher regarding African-American prisoners.

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.


Criminal records check are necessary during pre-employment and even when renting a property to someone else. Inspecting these records can reduce hires that may be threatening or misbehaving.

Although, criminal records can also negatively impact an ex-convict’s chances of starting anew. That’s why the US government has policies regarding discrimination against people with criminal records.

That makes criminal record statistics essential to the state, the citizens, and society. The legal system also uses these numbers to determine the resources needed for studying and comprehending the criminal justice system. 


What percentage of people are criminals?

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. 

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.

How long are criminal records kept?

Criminal records are kept for an indefinite period.


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1 comment
Micheal Platy
1 year 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

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