Prisoners in the U.S. in the 19th-century

face of a prisoner

Prisoner totals by sex, estimated mainly from prisoner statistics in the decennial censuses. Includes prisoners in jails and houses of correction. Counts of prisoners in individual state prisons, mid-19th century.

Dataset sheets:

  • prisoners 1850-1890: summary best estimates of total prisoners from corresponding decennials censuses; by sex for 1880 and 1890
  • prisoners pre-1840: fragmentary data available on prison populations prior to 1840 (first national census including prisoners)
  • 1840 convicts: convicts in state prisons by sex, from miscellaneous data included in the Census of 1850
  • 1850 compare-sum: estimates of prisoners by sex in 1850 based on analysis of data on prisoners in individual prisons
  • by prison 1849-50: prisoners by state, individual prison, and by sex, for comparative analysis of data from the Prison Association of New York and two data tables from the Census of 1850
  • MA 1850-55: prisoner data from Massachusetts state censuses
  • NY 1850-80: prisoner data from New York state censuses
  • 1860, states by nativity: prisoner counts by state and nativity from Census of 1860
  • 1868-1880, prisons: prison counts by sex for individual prisons
  • sex ratio 1870-80, ex NY: change in the sex ratio of prisoners in U.S. state prisons, 1870 to 1880, excluding prisoners in New York State (the NY 1850-80 sheet provides change in sex ratio of prisoners in NY)
  • sentence status, 1880-90: prisoners in jails by sex and sentence status, 1880-1890

Related datasets:

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