The United States Department of Justice released its latest official half-yearly figures on the penal system Sunday, revealing that the number of inmates in American <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_jai>prisons</a> rose 2.3 percent over 2003. The <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_pri>prison and jail population<p> in the U.S. was 2,131,180 in mid-2004. <p><a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_pri_per_cap>For every 100,000 people in the U.S., 726 are imprisoned</a>, compared to figures of 142 per 100,000 for England, 91 for France, and 58 for Japan. Almost 13 percent of black males in their late 20s are in prison or jail, while for Hispanics the corresponding figure is 3.6 percent. Only 1.7 percent of white twentysomething males are incarcerated. <p>While the violent crime rate in the U.S. dropped by one-third from 1994 to 2003, and the property crime rate by 23 percent, the prison population has increased by an annual average of 3.5 percent since 1995. Much of the increase is due to convicts reoffending; two out of every three prisoners released return to prison within three years. <p>Since 1998, 12 states have had stable or declining rates of incarceration, though the crime rate in those states didnâ€™t decline any faster than in the other 38 states. Texas is tops, with 704 per 100,000 people in state prisons, while Maine imprisons only 149. <p>The number of <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_pri_fem>female inmates</a> increased by 2.9 percent from 2003 to 2004, and there are now over 100,000 women in U.S. prisons, compared to 12,000 in 1980. Another 238,000 prisoners have serious mental illnesses, and there are also <a href=http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_pri_for_pri>92,000 foreign prisoners</a> in U.S. prisons. <p>The average cost for one year of imprisonment for one person is US$22,000, and the U.S. spends about $57 billion per year on its correctional system.