Top 10+ Largest Prisons In The U.S By Population
Top 10+ Largest Prisons In The US By Population
Table of Contents

It is commonly known that the United States has the world's largest jail population. America houses 25% of the world's convicts, and keeping such a huge number of prisoners confined necessitates the use of massive prisons. Here, we'll look at the top ten largest prisons in America, where thousands of inmates are serving time for a range of offenses.

How many prisons exist in the United States?

The United States justice system consists of 1,566 state prisons, 98 federal prisons, 3,116 local jails, 1,323 juvenile correctional facilities, 181 immigration detention facilities, and 80 tribal county jails, as well as military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in US territories.

READ MORE: Discovering The Smallest Jail in The U.S with Only 4 Prisoners

How many prisoners are there in the United States?

In 2021, the United States had 1.20 million prisoners, or 363 per 100,000 population. The prison and correctional population, including those in jail and on probation or parole, has dropped over time.

From 2011 to 2021, the prison population declined by 25%. Although the overall population increased, the number of inmates per 100,000 persons decreased by 29% throughout that time period. The total correctional population peaked in 2007, however populations within each category of incarceration have since declined. In 2021, there were 636,300 individuals in jail, or 192 per 100,000, the second-lowest jail incarceration rate since 1996.

READ MORE: What Is The Oldest Prison In The UK and Who is the Oldest Prisoner

Why is the prison population declining?

In addition to lower crime rates, COVID-19 helped to reduce the jailed population. In 2020, in an effort to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the jailed population, various prisons accelerated the release of prisoners, resulting in prison numbers dropping in 49 states. Between February 2020 and February 2021, the prison population decreased by 16%.

200,000 inmates in US jails are serving life sentences

One in every seven convicts in the United States is serving a life sentence. Many campaigners claim that the justice system is unfair and does not allow inmates to change or rehabilitate, and with many receiving life terms for crimes like robbery, it's easy to understand why.

Top 10+ Largest Prisons In The US By Population

1. New Bilibid Prison (28,500 inmates)

The New Bilibid Prison was established in Muntinlupa, Philippines, in 1940. NBP was previously utilized as an internment camp for both military soldiers and civilians during the Japanese occupation.

The jail was intended for a total inmate population of 6, 345.

2. Silivri Prison (22,000 inmates)

Silivri Prison is Europe's largest correctional complex, with meticulously crafted state-of-the-art jail structures. It is regarded as a high-security facility and has detained a number of prominent figures, including politicians, journalists, and activists. Silivri Prison was designed to house 11,000 convicts, but its capacity has long been exceeded. The institution has received criticism for its terrible living conditions and claims of human rights violations.

3. Klong Prem Central Prison (up to 20,000 inmates)

Klong Prem Central Prison built in 1944 and quickly gained popularity as Thailand's largest prison. It holds not just Thailand's jail population, but also inmates of many nations. According to estimates, foreigners account for roughly 30% of the population.

4. Los Angeles County (population: 19,836)

With an inmate population of 19,836, nearly the size of the nearby University of Southern California, and a budget of more than $700 million, Los Angeles County Jail is the largest imprisonment facility in the United States. Every day, more than 1,500 inmates attend court. L.A. County Jail is a fortress of seven institutions spanning over 4,000 square kilometers. The majority of inmates are nonviolent offenders, with just around 37% charged with violent actions such as rape, murder, and other aggravated attacks. More than half of the detainees are now awaiting trial. In addition, the facility provides rehabilitation and educational activities for convicts.

5. Tihar Jail (19,500 inmates)

The Tihar Jail prison complex comprises about 400 acres of land. It is the largest prison in South Asia and can be found in West Delhi, India. The nine core jails are segregated into individual cells for women, adolescents, and first-time offenders.

Tihar Jail is administered by the Department of Prisons, Government of Delhi, and its inmates have access to medical care and recreational opportunities. Kiran Bedi, a super officer, transformed Tihar Jail by introducing detainees to NGO activities, early morning prayers, and meditation. According to newslaundry, the facility engages offenders through music therapy and professionally trains them in music.

6. Rikers Island (13,849 prisoners)

Rikers Island is notoriously known as one of the most dangerous jails in the United States. It is part of the New York City jail system and is scattered across ten separate institutions on a 40-acre site. Rikers Island can house approximately 15,000 convicts and is typically near to capacity.

The many institutions accommodate a variety of convicts, including facilities for imprisoned males, a juvenile detention center, and a jail for detained and condemned women. The island provides numerous more facilities for its inmates, including separate quarters for individuals with contagious diseases, a power plant, and a bakery and tailoring shop where the offenders can work.

7. Harrison County Jail (population: 10,000)

Harris County Jail is Harris County's major jail complex in Houston, Texas. It has a population of 10,000 and is nearly always at full capacity. The county jail is divided into various facilities, including three independent county jails and the Joe Kegan State Jail. It is divided into several sites, the largest of which, the 701, is one of the country's largest detention facilities.

8. Cook County Jail (9,900 inmates)

The Cook County Jail is a huge penitentiary in Chicago, Illinois. It is America's largest single-site jail, housing 10,000 convicts. Cook County Jail is constantly overcrowded, with many more inmates than should be present. It has a history of executions, with electrocution being the most popular method. Most of these executions occurred between 1928 and 1962, with around 67 people electrocuted throughout this time.

9. Maricopa County Jail (9,265 inmates)

The Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix, Arizona, is one of America's oldest prisons, having been founded in 1871. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office manages the facility, which has a capacity of 9,200 inmates.

Prisoners are classified based on a variety of variables, including their perceived security danger, mental health, and addiction level. The penitentiary is well known for a 2017 protest in which inmates complained about the poor quality of their food.

10. Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (8,811 inmates)

Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, a county prison in Philadelphia, houses 8,811 inmates. It was named after two prison guards, Patrick Curran and Robert Fromhold, who were slain on May 31, 1973 while working at Holmesburg Prison.

The facility officially has a capacity of roughly 2,800 inmates, however data indicate that the total number of detainees at this jail is closer to 9,000. It has a good reputation despite the overcrowding, and the cells are divided into pods of 32 cells each.

11. Metro West Detention Center (7,050 inmates)

The Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation operates Metro West Detention Centre, a prison in Miami, Florida. The facility can hold around 7000 people.

The jail is classified as a medium-security prison and primarily accommodates offenders charged with minor offenses such as drunk driving. Metro West Detention Centre offers a variety of programs and services to help inmates reintegrate into society after they are released. These programs include educational classes, employment training, and substance abuse treatment. Inmates can also get medical and mental health services as needed.

Interesting Facts About American Prisons

1. Oklahoma is the prison capital of the globe.

Louisiana has always been known as the prison capital of America and the globe, but that changed lately when Oklahoma took over. Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate in the United States in the globe, with 1,079 people per 100,000.

2. The Ohio State Penitentiary experienced the biggest prison tragedy in US history.

In April 1930, the Ohio State Penitentiary saw one of the biggest prison tragedies in American history. A fire broke out at the institution, killing 322 inmates and injuring 150. Guards were claimed to refuse to let detainees leave their cells.

3. Black adolescents are more likely to be found in juvenile detention facilities.

Inequality in America's judicial system is well documented, with figures indicating that black adolescents are more than four times as likely as white youth to be imprisoned and confined in juvenile detention facilities.

4. Only 23% of freed inmates remain out of prison.

According to recent surveys, 77% of state inmates freed in 2005 were re-arrested in 2010. Within the first year, 43% were re-incarcerated.


In 2021, the US had 1.20 million prisoners, or 363 per 100,000 population. The prison and correctional population, including those in jail and on probation or parole, has dropped over time. The largest prison in the United States is New Bilibid Prison, which has 28,500 inmates.

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