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
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 County1,3241,1981,1641,0831,0521,0461,1151,1991,1871,1711,024
Berks County Regions
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.

Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Maintaining
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population ratio Increasing
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 Increasing
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Quality Early Childhood Centers Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 English Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Maintaining
Living Wage Maintaining
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Increasing
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Decreasing
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing