Inmate Demographics: A Closer Look at Age and Offense Trends

Inmate Demographics: A Closer Look at Age and Offense Trends

There are always some key metrics and indicators that reveal the health, success, or lack experienced by a community. Incarceration rates and the nature of crimes committed are high on the list of importance.

Areas like Crowley County, Colorado, Forest County, Pennsylvania, and Issaquena County, Mississippi have some of the highest incarceration rates in the country. Studying the crime trends in different counties will reveal a lot about them, and can help you deduce a lot about crime, age, poverty, and socioeconomic trends.

Keep reading to explore incarceration rate by county so that you can learn as much as possible.

Incarceration Rate by Age

If you're studying incarceration rates by the county, make sure that you also study the inmate demographics, beginning with age. A county with high incarceration rates could reveal a poorer quality of life. This can also signal an alarm if you notice that the crimes are skewing younger.

For instance, if you have a county with minors or young adults getting locked up in higher numbers, it speaks to issues that can affect generations that live there. In a recent year, more than 424,000 people 18 and younger were arrested. Among these arrests, 8% of them were violent crimes.

Incarceration Rate by County

If you're going to get to know the impact of crime, it helps to look into the demographics in your county. It hits closer to home when you get a glimpse at how these issues affect your local and surrounding area.

There are several points you should know when you're looking for this sort of information:

Use a County Database

One of the best ways to find out about crime in your county is by researching the county jail databases in your state. In doing this, you can look up the city and county jails where you live, along with information related to the population and the inmates that inhabit them.

These searches will help you come away with pertinent information, and you can also figure out how age plays a role.

Look Into Crime Trends

When studying incarceration rates, it'll help you figure out a lot about the nature of the area. For example, you can also look into statistics with the county sheriff's office to see which crimes are problem issues.

You'll find that certain counties have issues with substance abuse, while others are dealing with gangs. It also helps to look into the crimes that people are awaiting trial for while housed in the county jail. Studying these details and demographics can give you a clue into the types of issues that youths are dealing with.

Consider the Nature of the Crimes

There are direct links when you compare age and the way that certain types of crimes are trending. By researching how these numbers skew, you can get a feel for the future and act accordingly.

Among the 424,300 arrests of youths 0 to 17 years old, more than 422,000 of those involved kids between 10 and 17. Just shy of 122,000 arrests involved kids 14 and under. Taking a glimpse at these numbers requires an understanding of the crimes in question.

Here are how some of the most common crimes break down by age:

Murder and Manslaughter

Murder and manslaughter are the highest crimes that people get convicted of. They come with the harshest sentences, regardless of age. Though these crimes are so serious, there are youths convicted of these offenses each and every year.

Even in the lowest age group, between 0 and 14 years old, recent data showed that there were 90 different instances of murder or similar charges. These numbers trend higher once kids reach the age of 10, as the 10 to 14-year-old group has 930 different instances of murder or manslaughter. From 15 to 17 years old, there are 840 instances of murder or manslaughter.

Look up these numbers in your county to see how many murders were committed by youths, and how their cases were resolved. Gauge the age of the youths, the outcome of the cases, and whether they were charged as adults.


If you're keeping track of other crimes that affect communities at large, robbery is a serious offense. These include armed robberies of people on foot, carjacking, and other related crimes.

With these offenses, roughly 12,000 arrests happened involving people aged 0 to 17. About 2,500 of these arrests took place involving kids aged 0 to 14.


Burglaries are serious and dangerous crimes since they involve breaking and entering a person's property. Whether armed or unarmed, it makes people feel that they are in danger in their own homes.

A number of kids begin burglarizing at a young age when they get into committing crimes. Among kids aged 0 to 17, more than 15,000 burglaries are on record.

Larceny and Theft

When you are looking into theft-related crimes, there are many offenses committed by youths of different ages. Larceny and theft happen in high numbers when considering kids from 0 to 17.

The most recent data showed that there were 46,700 larceny and theft arrests in this age group.

Weapons Possession

Firearms are in the news left and right for different reasons, People are also getting their hands on guns at lower ages.

For instance, youths aged 0 to 17 were involved in more than 11,000 weapons-related arrests. These offenses are often serious, particularly if the weapon possession is in commission of another crime.

Regardless of what sort of crime a youth is convicted of, they have a higher chance of getting their record expunged, being granted parole, receiving more lenient sentences, and a host of other factors.

Risk Factors for Crime

Since we're breaking down crime trends based on age, it's important to look into the different factors that can cause inmate statistics to rise. There are many people who dedicate their lives to helping at-risk youths to keep these offense trends as low as possible.

Here are some of the main factors that you need to keep in mind when studying these sorts of demographics:

Poor Education Systems

When studying inmate statistics among the youth, you need to know that these trends are directly tied to education. A county with a poor education system will have more at-risk youths more likely to end up in the system.

Kids who feel disengaged from school are more likely to feel isolated from their peers. When they feel that they are not advancing with their peers, many kids check out and find status and meaning in the wrong areas.

This is why so many school boards with poor funding are trying to apply for grants and programs to make the schools better. Thankfully, there are county jails that also help people get their education behind bars.

Behavioral Issues in School

Behavioral issues are also another potential sign that a kid could end up in the system. While minor issues might be no cause for concern, it's particularly alarming when a child is constantly getting suspended or expelled from school.

This includes staying in In School Suspension (ISS) or being sent to alternative schools. These types of arrangements feel like prison in a lot of ways, and send kids on the pipeline to jail.

When kids end up in juvenile detention or county jail, their school behavioral record will often be brought up in court or plea arrangements. Behavior is linked to age and how the jail trends play out.

Low Socioeconomic Circumstances

When considering different offense trends, make sure that you also look into the socioeconomic circumstances that come into play. Children who come up in counties with poor socioeconomic circumstances are more likely to get mixed up in crime.

Impoverished counties often involve more thefts and other types of opportunity crimes. Kids as young as 8 or 9 get involved with shoplifting and other theft-related crimes at high numbers.

A Bad Family Life

It always starts with the family. If you look at crime trends that involve kids getting locked up, it's almost always an area that also involves several broken homes.

Research family life in these counties to get an idea about the type of home life that kids are growing up in. When kids are allowed to run the streets without guidance or supervision, they're more likely to get in trouble at younger ages.

Kids raised in strong family structures have positive pressure to perform well in school, stay out of trouble, and participate in social activities.

Understanding Incarceration by County

When you get to know incarceration by county, it becomes easier to pinpoint issues and do something about it. As you can see, age plays a significant role in the trends and factors that dictate criminal offenses.

There are several resources you can use to gain more information about how crime, age, and location have strong correlations. Do your due diligence and research your county or other counties that you would like to know more about.

If you need a helping hand, Jail Exchange can assist you. Our site has a variety of databases and information that you can look into when you'd like to learn more about crime and incarceration. Send us a message on our website for more information about the resources that we offer.