RISP Data Bytes

Jails, Prisons, and Large State Institutions

RISP Data Bytes, March 2024


In 2019, there were still 16,200 people living in large state institutions. Many of them had criminal records (1,161, 7%). Many people moved between institutions and jails.

Key Finding

Of the estimated 1,264 people who left large state institutions that year, 199 (17%) went to jails. Of the 1,014 people moving into large state institutions, most came from jails or similar places (268, 29%). Also, most people who lived in large state institutions needed support to manage their behavior (9,946, 61%). As fewer people live in large state institutions, a higher percentage of them have criminal records. Many also face challenges in managing their behavior.

Percentages of Large State IDD Facility (16+ Residents) Admissions from and Discharges to Correctional Facilities, 1985 to 2019

Double line graph. A blue line shows the percent of people in large institutions admitted from jails and prisons. It starts at 2% in 1985 and grows to 29% in 2019. A red line shows the percent discharged to jails and prisons. It starts at 0% in 1985 and grows to 17% in 2019.


For all people with IDD to live in homes in the community, it will include many who have criminal records. They will need more intensive supports, including having more staff available to work with them. This is a great challenge that requires a stable direct support workforce.

Data Source

  • Larson, S. A., Neidorf, J., Pettingell, S., & Sowers, M. (2023). Long-term supports and services for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities: Status and trends through 2019. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Research and Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration.


Sheryl A. Larson, Jon Neidorf, and Brian C. Begin. The authors acknowledge the contributions by Jerry Smith, Sarah Curtner and John Smith to this product.

The RISP project gets funds from the Administration on Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cooperative Agreement #90DNPA0006 with supplemental funding from the National Institutes on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research Grant #90RTCP0011.

Abbreviations used: IDD Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities; HCBS Home and Community Based Services