Prison Population is Falling
The Washington Monthly – Ten Miles Square – Why The Prison Population is Falling
The number of people incarcerated went up every single year from the mid 1970s until 2009. Over that more than 30 year period, there have been economic booms and contractions, changes in the relative strength of the major political parties, alterations in the demographic makeup of the US general population, the waxing and waning of drug epidemics, and countless other changes in American life. What that should tell us is that any simple explanation for why America has the prison policy it does at any given time is wrong or at least incomplete.
Pew notes that over the past 5 years, incarceration fell in 29 states (ruling out another simple explanation: that this is all due to the court order to reduce overcrowding in California prisons). …