Prison population dropped in 2009

From the Pew Center’s latest Report:

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the number of state prisoners in the United States has declined, according to Prison Count 2010,” a new survey by the Pew Center on the States. As of January 2010, there were 1,403,091 persons under the jurisdiction of state prison authorities, 5,739 fewer than on December 31, 2008.

This marks the first year-to-year drop in the nation’s state prison population since 1972. While the study showed an overall decline, it revealed great variation among jurisdictions. The prison population declined in 27 states, while increasing in 23 states and in the federal system.

In the past few years, several states have enacted reforms designed to get taxpayers a better return on their public safety dollars. These strategies included:

• Diverting low-level offenders and probation and parole violators from prison
• Strengthening community supervision and re-entry programs
• Accelerating the release of low-risk inmates who complete risk reduction programs

Report in PDF

From: RGJ
By Martha Bellisle
March 17, 2010

The number of inmates in state prisons across the country, including in Nevada, dropped last year for the first time in about 40 years, according to a new survey by the Pew Center on the States.

Nevada had 12,743 inmates on Dec. 31, 2008, and 12,539 on Jan. 1, 2010, a drop of 1.6percent, the survey found.

The number of male inmates increased slightly since January, said Rex Reed, administrator of the offender management division of the Nevada Department of Corrections. But the number of female inmates dropped by about 30, he said.

Nationwide, inmate populations in state facilities dropped by .4 percent since 1972, the Pew study found, after increasing by 705 percent between 1972 and 2008.

Pew officials said the changes reflect policy changes across the states.

In Nevada, lawmakers made numerous changes in 2007 that allowed some inmates to receive “good-time” credits for education and substance abuse treatment to shorten their terms.

The changes and the reduction in population saved Nevada $38 million, the Pew study found, and helped avoid $1.2 billion in prison construction costs.

Here another article about the drop in prisoners from Stateline.