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The U.S. prison population has decreased significantly over the past decade, although it experienced a small rebound between 2021 and 2022. In that context, the amount of Latinos imprisoned has also seen a drop, but they are still overrepresented in the overall figures.

According to a new report by the Department of Justice, 23% of the more than 1.2 million people in state and federal penitentiaries in 2022 were Latino, when the demographic comprises roughly 20% of the overall population in the U.S. The overrepresentation is much higher among Black people, making up 32% of the prison population and 13.6% of the overall population.

Despite the bump between 2021 and 2022, the report highlighted that the imprisonment rate at the end of 2022 was down 26% compared to a decade prior.

Looking at Latinos specifically, in 2022 there were some 60,000 fewer sentenced inmates from the demographic than in 2022. Overall, the latest figures showed 273,900 Latinos imprisoned, compared to 336,100 ten years before.

It's a 28.3% drop, higher than the total sentenced prison population's 21.6% and takes the amount per 100,000 to 426. No other demographic saw a larger decrease of imprisoned population during the period, but it's still higher than the country average, which is 355 people per 100,000 U.S. residents. The figures varied depending on whether people were imprisoned at federal or state facilities: Latinos comprised 34% of the population in the former and 22% in the latter.

Moreover, the report showed that the rate of Latinos sentenced to more than one year decreased between 2021 and 2022, in contrast with most other demographics, for whom it increased.

"The rate at which adult U.S. residents were in prison on a sentence of more than 1 year increased almost 4% from 2021 to 2022 for American Indian or Alaska Native persons, 3% for white persons, and 1% for black persons, while it declined 2% each for Hispanic and for
Asian and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander persons," reads a passage of the report.

Looking at the overall figures, that is counting both sentenced and not sentenced people in prison, the "adult imprisonment rates for both black persons and Hispanic persons have declined 36%," the report says. Overall, 603 in 100,000 Latinos were imprisoned in the U.S. in 2022.

When it comes to the age of those imprisoned, 22% of Latinos were 29 or younger.

Overall, "more than 1% of all male U.S. residents aged 25 to 49 were sentenced to a state or federal prison."

Looking at geographical disparities, Mississippi's (+14.3%), Montana's (+8.8%) and Colorado's (+8.2%) incarcerated populations grew the most between 2021 and 2022. Meanwhile, those of Virginia (-10.5%), Oregon (-5.2%) and California (-3.8%) shrank the most.

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