Public Safety
Incarceration Rate

Incarceration Rate

What does this measure?

The average daily county jail population, divided by the total population in the county, presented per 1,000 residents. This includes county inmates who are detained while awaiting trial, civilly committed or criminally sentenced but does not include inmates in state or federal prisons.

Why is this important?

Incarceration serves to remove offenders from a community, but also creates hardships on families, including the loss of an income or a caregiver, in addition to long-term effects on mental health for all involved. After incarceration, people often encounter challenges in obtaining meaningful employment, leading to reductions in long-term productivity, recidivism and widespread effects on a community's social, health and educational systems.

How is our county performing?

In 2017, the average Berks County jail population was 900, down 32% from 2006. That amounts to 2.2 county jail inmates per 1,000 residents in Berks County, slightly lower than the incarceration rate to Pennsylvania as a whole. From 2006 to 2017, the incarceration rate in Berks declined from a peak of 3.3 in 2006 to 2.5 in 2011, before rising again in 2012 through 2014. By comparison, the state's incarceration rate has largely been flat since 2006.

Among neighboring counties in 2017, incarceration rates were higher than in Berks in Lebanon, at 3.8 per 1,000 residents, Lehigh, 2.6 and Montgomery, 2.4. Rates were lower in Chester and Lancaster (both at 1.6), and Schuylkill (1.8). Like Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Lehigh had rates that fluctuated from 2006 to 2017 but in 2017 the rates were lower than 2006. Lehigh had a decline of 36% during this period, while Schuylkill's rate was largely flat and Montgomery increased about 19%.

Notes about the data

Data are from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Data includes all classifications of incarceration and reflects the counties where offenders are housed, which are not necessarily the home counties of offenders or the sentencing counties.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Incarceration Rate
Berks County3.
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County1.
Lancaster County2.
Lebanon County4.
Lehigh County4.
Montgomery County2.
Schuylkill County1.

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Average Daily County Jail Population
Berks County1,3241,1981,1641,0831,0521,0461,1151,1991,1871,1711,024900
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County924941940936895898969951959893817823
Lancaster County1,1791,1701,1521,1311,1291,0981,0241,023978960960884
Lebanon County532538515448453480477475538548513537
Lehigh County1,3671,4111,3791,1581,1331,2681,3201,2931,2921,023972956
Montgomery County1,5721,5761,7421,7931,7541,8081,8381,9411,8801,9981,9171,992
Schuylkill County271296302281273253291304294305253257

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
Notes: Population represents where offenders are housed, not their home or sentencing counties.

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Maintaining
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households by type Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Seniors Living Alone Maintaining
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Decreasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Not Applicable
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Receiving Supplemental Security Income Increasing
Health Status Not Applicable
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Cost of Homeownership Maintaining
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Toxic Chemical Releases Decreasing
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing