Incarceration Rate

What does this measure?

The average daily county jail population, divided by the total population in the county, presented per 1,000 residents. This includes county inmates who are detained while awaiting trial, civilly committed or criminally sentenced but does not include inmates in state or federal prisons.

Why is this important?

Incarceration serves to remove offenders from a community, but also creates hardships on families, including the loss of an income or a caregiver, in addition to long-term effects on mental health for all involved. After incarceration, people often encounter challenges in obtaining meaningful employment, leading to reductions in long-term productivity, recidivism and widespread effects on a community's social, health and educational systems.

How does our county compare?

In 2019, the average Lancaster County daily jail population was 790, down 33% from 2006. That amounts to 1.4 county jail inmates per 1,000 residents in Lancaster County, below the 2.4 incarceration rate of Pennsylvania as a whole.

Aside from Cumberland, which had an identical incarceration rate in 2019, rates were lower in Lancaster than in Chester (1.6), Berks (2.5), Lebanon (3.5), Dauphin (3.6), and York (4.3).

Every county showed at least a modest decline in incarceration rates per residents between 2006 and 2019.

Notes about the data

Data are from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Data includes all classifications of incarceration and reflects the counties where offenders are housed, which are not necessarily the home counties of offenders or the sentencing counties.

Incarceration Rate
Lancaster County2.
Berks County3.
Chester County1.
Cumberland County1.
Dauphin County3.
Lebanon County4.
York County5.

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Average Daily County Jail Population
Lancaster County1,1791,1701,1521,1311,1291,0981,0241,023978960960884861790
Berks County1,3241,1981,1641,0831,0521,0461,1151,1991,1871,1711,0249009991,043
Chester County924941940936895898969951959893817823843841
Cumberland County350340356367385389371380414392407439412355
Dauphin County9869799889499439439999981,0551,0281,0361,0371,0651,002
Lebanon County532538515448453480477475538548513537518490
York County2,1482,1482,2532,2562,2992,3782,3432,3872,3232,2772,3272,2431,9441,926

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
Notes: Population represents where offenders are housed, not their home or sentencing counties.