State Prison Numbers Drop for 1st Time Since 1972

Publication: Associated Press

Author: David Crary

03/17/2010 - 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.

"The political and policy environment has changed drastically," said Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center's Public Safety Performance Project.

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