Spurred by budget crises, California and Michigan together reduced their prison populations by more than 7,500 last year, contributing to what a new report says is the first nationwide decline in the number of state inmates since 1972.
The overall drop was slight, according to the Pew Center on the States — just 0.4 percent — but its report suggests there could be a sustained downward trend because of keen interest by state policymakers in curtailing corrections costs.
Read the report...
If there is a silver lining to the current economic crisis, the news that the growth in state prison population is it. But the news is mixed: in 23 states, the number of prisoners increased in 2009 — notably in Indiana by 5.3 percent and in Pennsylvania by 4.3 percent.
However, 27 states reduced their prison populations — led by California with a drop of 4,257 and Michigan with a drop of 3,260. New York, Maryland, Texas and Mississippi also reduced their prison populations by more than 1,000.
Of course Idaho, being a state that runs it criminal justice system on ideology instead of rationality, saw its prison population increase by 1.5% last year. Since 1973, the state prison population has grown 705 percent. Idaho's prison population has increased 945 percent. The IDOC has had it FY2011 budget reduced by approximately $30 million from the previous year. Anyone see a problem?