FIGURE 3 Crime mix among resident inmates in 1986: percent of total inmates by most serious convicted offense in the United States (represented by a dash), and in individual states with the lowest and highest percents among the six states in this study. SOURCE: For U.S. percents, Bureau of Justice Statistics (1988).

Figure 5 presents crime-specific incarceration rates for New York. Because the different crime types are characterized by incarceration rates that differ markedly in scale, with rates as low as 1 inmate per 100,000 population for rape or aggravated assault and as high as 60 for robbery or burglary, annual incarceration rates for each crime type are adjusted to a common scale by using the 1977 rates as a base.

Since 1977, across the six states, incarceration rates for the expressive, violent offenses of murder and aggravated assault (e.g., Figure 5-top) have increased at rates very similar to those observed for total incarceration rates in Figure 1. (The increase for aggravated assault is somewhat higher in Pennsylvania and Texas.) Similar increases in incarceration rates were also observed across the six states for the more instrumental offenses of robbery and burglary (e.g., Figure 5-bottom). The increases in total incarceration rates evident in Figures 1 and 2 thus reflect a general pattern of similar increases that occurred widely across different crime types and states. The incarceration rate for drug offenses is distinguished from other crime types by a rapid increase in the inmate population beginning in 1985.

Some interesting exceptions to the general pattern do exist. It is evident from Figure 6-top that Florida experienced distinctive



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement