The New Jersey Department of Corrections recently published its “Offender Characteristics Report,” a guide to the crimes, sentences, ethnicities, and holding facilities for the 19,619 inmates in the prison system. (The department does not break out statistics for the entire system — which includes halfway houses, county jails, and medical units — according to sex.)
Still, it makes for disquieting reading.
Sixty-one percent of all inmates (11,923) are serving time for violent crimes: homicide, sexual assault, aggravated/simple assault, robbery, kidnapping, other sex offenses, and other person offenses (including coercion and “terroristic threats”). Fifteen percent are behind bars for narcotics violations; 83 percent for sale/distribution.
Sixty-one percent of inmates are black; 22 percent, white; 16 percent, Hispanic; and 1 percent, Asian.
Thirty-four percent of all prisoners are 30 years of age or younger. The median age for inmates in all facilities is 35.
A total of 80 inmates are serving life without parole.