Lifetime risk of imprisonment in the United States remains high and starkly unequal.
How likely are U.S. males and females of different ethnoracial groups to be imprisoned over the course of their lives, and how have these risks changed in recent decades? Using survey and administrative data, we update 20th-century estimates of the cumulative risk of imprisonment for the 21st century. In 2016, non-Hispanic Black males' lifetime risk of imprisonment remained very high-more than 16%-but decreased substantially relative to extreme levels of risk in the 1990s and early 2000s. The lifetime risk of imprisonment among people identifying as American Indian or Alaska Native was nearly 50% for males and more than 14% for females. Although national prison admission rates are declining, imprisonment remains a pervasive and highly unequal life-course experience.