Public Safety
Incarceration Rate

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 is our county performing?

In 2015, the average Berks County jail population was 1,171, down 13% from 2006. That amounts to 2.8 county jail inmates per 1,000 residents in Berks County, a similar incarceration rate to Pennsylvania as a whole. From 2006 to 2015, the incarceration rate in Berks declined from a peak of 3.3 in 2006 to 2.5 in 2011, before rising again in 2012 through 2014. By comparison, the state's incarceration rate has largely been flat since 2006.

Among neighboring counties in 2015, incarceration rates were higher than in Berks in Lebanon, at 4 per 1,000 residents, and the same as Lehigh, 2.8. Rates were lower in Chester (1.7), Lancaster (1.8), Montgomery (2.4) and Schuylkill (2.1). Like Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Lehigh had rates that fluctuated from 2006 to 2015 but in 2015 the rates were lower than 2006. Lancaster had a steady decline of 23% during this period, while Chester's rate was largely flat and Montgomery increased about 14%.

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.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Incarceration Rate
Berks County3.
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County1.
Lancaster County2.
Lebanon County4.
Lehigh County4.
Montgomery County2.
Schuylkill County1.

Source: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Average Daily County Jail Population
Berks County1,3241,1981,1641,0831,0521,0461,1151,1991,1871,171
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County924941940936895898969951959893
Lancaster County1,1791,1701,1521,1311,1291,0981,0241,023978960
Lebanon County532538515448453480477475538548
Lehigh County1,3671,4111,3791,1581,1331,2681,3201,2931,2921,023
Montgomery County1,5721,5761,7421,7931,7541,8081,8381,9411,8801,998
Schuylkill County271296302281273253291304294305

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

Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population Ratio Decreasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving Region for Work Not Applicable
Public Assistance Increasing
Local Government Spending Increasing
County Government Spending Decreasing
School District Spending Increasing
Quality Early Childhood Centers Increasing
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on High School Reading Increasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Median Household Income Decreasing
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage by Household Type Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
Health Status Decreasing
Managed Medicaid Enrollment Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Maintaining
Adults Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Children Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Youth Who Are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Vacant Housing Units Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Maintaining
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Increasing
Tourism Spending Decreasing
Voter Registration Rate Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Increasing
Charitable Contributions as a Percentage of Income Increasing
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Decreasing
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing