How many inmates are incarcerated in the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC)?
On January 1, 2014 there were 9,808 criminally sentenced inmates in the jurisdiction of the DOC.  There were 523 offenders incarcerated as a civil commitment and 703 pre-trial detainees in the DOC. The total jurisdiction population was 11,034.

How many Massachusetts inmates are incarcerated in other jurisdictions' facilities?
On January 1, 2014 there were 83 DOC inmates housed in other state or federal correctional facilities; 329 DOC inmates were housed in county correctional facilities.

How many institutions do you have and how many security levels are there?
The Department has 18 institutions and 4 security levels: Maximum, Medium, Minimum and Pre-Release.

What is the DOC overcrowding rate? 
The total custody overcrowding rate for DOC facilities as of December 31, 2013 was 132%. The overcrowding rate for medium security facilities was 146%. The overcrowding rate is based on a snapshot at the end of 2013.

What is the average cost to house an inmate per year? 
For Fiscal Year 2013, the average cost per year to house an inmate in the Massachusetts DOC was $47,102.03.

How many people are committed to the DOC in a year?
There were 2,713 new criminal court commitments to the DOC during 2013; 1,986 males and 727 females.

How many people are released from the DOC in a year?
During the year 2013, there were 3,463 criminally sentenced inmates released from both DOC facilities, as well as facilities in other jurisdictions. Of these releases, 2,678 (77%) were released to the street: 718 via parole, 1,826 through expiration of sentence and 134 court release/drug lab. Of the 3,463 inmates released, 809 were female and 2,654 were male.

What is the average time served?
The average time served for state criminally sentenced males, including all inmates released from a sentence at the DOC due to expiration of sentence, parole, court release, or payment of fines in 2013, was about 3.7 years.  For females, the average time served for state criminally sentenced releases to the street was about 2.7 years and 142 days (about 4.7 months) for county criminally sentenced releases to the street. 

Jail credits are days of credit for time served awaiting trial. The DOC does not award or take away jail credits; pre-trial confinement is determined by the courts.

Length of stay is the total number of days an inmate is incarcerated on the same DOC commitment number within the DOC jurisdiction population; the total number of days may include time from multiple admission and releases on that same commitment number.

Time Served is defined as the sum of an inmate’s total length of stay on the same commitment number within the DOC jurisdiction population including jail credit days.

What is the recidivism rate?

A 3 year recidivism study of 2,718 criminally sentenced inmates released from DOC institutions in 2008 yielded the following results: within the first year post-release 601 (22%) of the 2,718 released inmates recidivated, an additional 306 (11%) recidivated in the second year post-release, and another 165 (6%) recidivated within the third year post-release. The overall recidivism rate for inmates released in 2008 over the span of 3 years was 39%.  

The Massachusetts Department of Correction (MADOC) defines a recidivist as any criminally sentenced inmate released to the street from MADOC jurisdiction who is re-incarcerated in a Massachusetts state or county facility or to a federal facility for a criminal sentence within three years of their release to the street[1].

 How many "lifers" are incarcerated in Massachusetts DOC facilities?
On January 1, 2014, there were 2,002 inmates serving a life sentence. Of the 2,002, there were 1,051 inmates serving a first-degree life sentence while the remaining 951 were serving a sentence of second-degree life (926) or an out of state life sentence (25).

What is the gender breakdown of the inmate population?
Of the 9,808 criminally sentenced inmates in DOC jurisdiction on January 1, 2014, 524 (5%) were female and 9,284 (95%) were male.

What is the racial/Hispanic ethnicity composition of the inmate population? Inmates serving criminal sentences on January 1, 2014 reported the following race/ethnicity: White 4,209 (42.9%), Black 2,737 (27.9%), Hispanic 2,581 (26.3%), Asian 133 (1.4%), American Indian/Alaskan Native 58 (0.6%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0 (0%), and Other 90 (0.9%).


1 All measures of inmate time served, or percent of time served, were done using Huber’s M-Estimator, a robust, non-parametric, maximum likelihood-type estimation of center. Huber’s M-Estimator, the median, or other robust statistic, is preferred to the average when examining time served due to the skewed nature of the variable; the average has a tendency to produce greatly inflated values.

2 Prior to the 2008 recidivism collection, data was collected specifically on inmates released to the street from DOC facilities (custody). Starting in 2008, the cohort will also include DOC inmates released from county, federal and out of state facilities. In 2008, there were 26 DOC inmates released to the street from non-DOC facilities.

Date last updated: January 2014