There are 21,486 inmates in New Jersey’s jails and halfway houses, 15,193 of whom are housed in the state’s prison complex. Another 2,878 are being held in halfway houses or county jails, with 3,415 youths being held in juvenile detention centers and institutions.
The number of those incarcerated has been slowly dropping in the past few years. In 2011, the number of state inmates was 25,139.
Most inmates (57 percent) are in prison for serious crimes: homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, kidnapping, and other sex offenses. Still, 17 percent of those in prison were committed for narcotics-law violations, including possession, sale, and distribution — although the vast majority (82 percent) of these are being held for sale and distribution, not possession.
The median term being served by inmates is six years. The median age of inmates is 35, with 36 percent 30 and younger. The vast majority of inmates are black (61 percent), followed by 22 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Asian.