Wednesday, March 17, 2010

State Prison Population Drops for First Time Since 1972

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?

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