The California prison population grew 874 percent between 1977 and 2007. I built this visualization to put that number in context.
To view this as a presentation (recommended), use the arrow buttons at the bottom right of the visualization. Alternatively, use the zoom controls (or click with your mouse) to browse on your own. Description and data sources are provided below:
This visualization compares populations of California residents, prisoners, parolees and prison design capacity (ie. the number of inmates the states’ prisons were designed to hold) in 1977 (just before the enactment of the ‘Uniform Determinate Sentencing Act’) and 2007 (after thirty years of sustained and rapid growth).
In the original source file (exported at 72ppi), 103 pixels represented 100 people (or beds) in each block.
- California Prisoners & Parolees, 2008, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 2009. Available here.
- California Prisoners & Parolees, 1988, California Department of Corrections, 1989. Available here.
- Historical Trends, 1987 – 2007, California Department of Corrections, July 2008. Available here.
- Historical Trends: Institution and Parole Population, 1977-1997, California Department of Corrections, June 1998. Available here
- Understanding Corrections, Joan Petersilia, California Policy Research Center, May, 2006. Available here.