The Criminal Population in New England: Records, Convictions, and Barriers to Employment
The portion of the U.S. population with a criminal record has been receiving mounting attention in recent years. While there is a significant amount of data about the criminal population under supervision, there is very limited linked data identifying how most individuals move through the criminal justice system. By analyzing multiple national and state data sources, this report aims to identify the size of the New England population with a criminal record and to describe the broad demographic characteristics of this population.
The report illustrates that the size of the population in the region with a criminal record is significant: in 2014 there are 5.3 million individuals in criminal record databases in New England. Young men between 20 and 24 years of age account for a disproportionate number of arrests and convictions in New England, and most individuals with a criminal record committed a misdemeanor, not a felony. The report illustrates that the region's mid-sized cities often host a disproportionately larger share of ex-offenders. The report discusses the need for more complete and coordinated data systems that can accurately examine flows through the criminal justice system and the outcomes of all ex-offenders.