Report Finds States Holding Fewer Prisoners

Publication: The New York Times

Author: John Schwartz


03/17/2010 - State prison populations, which have grown for nearly four decades, have begun to dip, according to a new report, largely because of recent efforts to keep parolees out of prison and reduce prison time for nonviolent offenders.

State prisons held 1,403,091 people as of Jan. 1, nearly four-tenths of a percent fewer than a year before, the report said. Prison populations have fallen in 27 states in that period, while they have risen in 23.

“It’s too early to tell whether this is a tap of the brakes or a shift into reverse,” said Adam Gelb, the director of the public safety performance project of the Pew Center on the States in Washington, which produced the report. Still, Mr. Gelb said, seeing the state prison numbers dip for the first time since 1972 “took us a little bit by surprise,” he said.



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