Dec. 9, 2013
After reaching a high of 1 in 100 adults behind bars in 2008, the U.S. prison population has now declined for three consecutive years. According to new data released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of offenders in state prisons decreased 2.1 percent during 2012. The state imprisonment rate also dropped by 2.6 percent. The federal prison population continued to grow, though at a slower pace than in recent years.
According to Adam Gelb, Director of Pew’s public safety performance project, “Growing prison populations aren’t fate or simply the product of giant forces of social or demographic trends. They are primarily the result of policy choices. State policymakers on both sides of the aisle are now taking deliberate steps to bend the curve and these are starting to pay off in lower costs and less crime.”