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 2016, the average Berks County jail population was 1,024, down 23% from 2006. That amounts to 2.5 county jail inmates per 1,000 residents in Berks County, slightly lower than the incarceration rate to Pennsylvania as a whole. From 2006 to 2016, 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 2016, incarceration rates were higher than in Berks in Lebanon, at 3.7 per 1,000 residents, and Lehigh, 2.7. Rates were lower in Chester (1.6), Lancaster (1.8), Montgomery (2.3) and Schuylkill (1.8). Like Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Lehigh had rates that fluctuated from 2006 to 2016 but in 2016 the rates were lower than 2006. Lehigh had a decline of 34% during this period, while Schuylkill's rate was largely flat and Montgomery increased about 15%.

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
20062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
Pennsylvania2.82.82.92.82.72.72.92.82.92.72.7
Berks County3.33.02.92.72.62.52.72.92.92.82.5
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County1.91.91.91.91.81.81.91.91.91.71.6
Lancaster County2.42.32.32.22.22.11.91.91.81.81.8
Lebanon County4.24.24.03.43.43.63.53.53.94.03.7
Lehigh County4.14.24.13.43.23.63.73.63.62.82.7
Montgomery County2.02.02.22.32.22.22.32.42.32.42.3
Schuylkill County1.82.02.11.91.81.72.02.12.02.11.8

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency




Average Daily County Jail Population
20062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
Pennsylvania35,22835,01035,64535,45934,16734,82337,18536,16136,67934,63834,145
Berks County1,3241,1981,1641,0831,0521,0461,1151,1991,1871,1711,024
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County924941940936895898969951959893817
Lancaster County1,1791,1701,1521,1311,1291,0981,0241,023978960960
Lebanon County532538515448453480477475538548513
Lehigh County1,3671,4111,3791,1581,1331,2681,3201,2931,2921,023972
Montgomery County1,5721,5761,7421,7931,7541,8081,8381,9411,8801,9981,917
Schuylkill County271296302281273253291304294305253

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




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