Understanding Incarceration

How much do you know about the carceral system?

Watch this docufilm from our partner, Prison to Professionals (P2P)— Reclaiming Silenced Voices, “We are the Experts." P2P believes in elevating the voices, experiences, and expertise of those closest to the problem. Eight-five percent of the P2P team are directly impacted or formerly incarcerated.

Facts About Incarceration


2.3 million people are locked up in more than 6,000 correctional facilities operated by thousands of agencies.

Source: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/factsheets.html
Today, people of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. Overall, in the US, Black people are more likely than white people to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences
Source: https://www.sentencingproject.org/criminal-justice-facts/​
The rate of women’s incarceration has grown at twice the pace of men’s in recent decades, and has disproportionately been located in local jails.
Source: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/factsheets.html

Women of color are significantly overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Black women represent 30% of all incarcerated women in the U.S, although they represent 13% of the female population generally Hispanic women represent 16% of incarcerated women, although they make up only 11% of all women in the US.

Source: https://www.aclu.org/other/facts-about-over-incarceration-women-united-states

People who have spent time in prison suffer the greatest losses, with their subsequent annual earnings reduced by an average of 52 percent.

Source: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/conviction-imprisonment-and-lost-earnings-how-involvement-criminal

Women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, with more than one million women behind bars or under the control of the criminal justice system.

Source: https://www.aclu.org/other/facts-about-over-incarceration-women-united-states
Over 1.5 million children have a parent in prison.
Source: https://www.aclu.org/other/facts-about-over-incarceration-women-united-states
More than 8.3 million children have a parent under correctional supervision (e.g., probation and parole), and more than one in five of these children is under five years old.
Source: https://www.aclu.org/other/facts-about-over-incarceration-women-united-states

Resources on Incarceration

The following resources on broadening participation in STEM education and careers have been recommended by STEM-OPS partners.

formerly incarcerated education


incarcerated learners


 Please take 1 minute to fill out this survey about how this project may have influenced you or helped you learn new information. Your response will help STEM-OPS learn about our shared impact on messages about people impacted by incarceration and help us improve our approach to changing societal narratives.

Get Involved

Would you like to stay informed about new resources, new efforts, and new issues?     Sign up here!