Home State News Prison Policy Initiative says prison populations are starting to increase

Prison Policy Initiative says prison populations are starting to increase


Prison Policy Initiative says prison populations are starting to increase

APRIL 1, 2023

The Prison Policy Initiative has released “Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023,” described as a “comprehensive view” of how many people are incarcerated in the U.S., why they are incarcerated, and the kinds of facilities in which they’re housed.

The Prison Policy Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization studying mass incarceration.

The report used recent national data from local jails, state and federal prisons, and other systems of confinement. It found that roughly 1.9 million people are incarcerated in the United States, 803,000 are on parole and 2.9 million are on probation.

Although the report says prison populations are lower than they’ve been in decades, they’re starting to increase because of “pandemic-related slowdowns” in the criminal legal system. Officials are also releasing fewer people from prison now than from before the pandemic.

The report said that some in law enforcement and on the political right have sought to blame changes to the criminal legal system—such as bail reform, altered police budgets and “progressive” prosecutors— for increases in crime rates since the start of the pandemic.

However, according to the report, murder rates were on average 40% higher in “red” states compared to “blue” states in 2020, and places that did not implement any of these reforms also saw increases in crime rates.

“The pandemic presented government leaders with the chance to turn the page on the era of mass incarceration, but the emerging data show that they largely squandered this opportunity,” said Wendy Sawyer, research director for the Prison Policy Initiative and co-author of the report.

“While incarceration rates dropped quickly at the start of the pandemic, this was the result of pandemic-related slowdowns rather than any deliberate or decisive action by elected leaders. It is disappointing but not surprising that prison populations are already beginning to creep up again.”

Black people make up about 38% of the prison and jail population and only 12% of U.S. residents. At least 113 million adults in the U.S., which would be about 45%, have a family member who has been incarcerated, and 79 million people have some form of a criminal record.

“The size of ‘The Whole Pie’ should serve as a wakeup call for both the government and the public that if we don’t take meaningful action to disrupt the real drivers of mass incarceration—poverty, criminalization, low levels of investment in services that meet people’s needs, draconian policies that fuel the systems’ expansion—then the U.S. will retain the dubious distinction as the top incarcerator in the world,” Sawyer said.

—Xain Ballenger


  1. .

    Hmmm. Anyone else thinking, in an article about prisons, the name “Donald Trump?”

    Good God. THIS is a guy “some people” is Presidential. SOME, but fewer and fewer Trump fans will give him their VOTE. SOME, but not all:

    1. In Hawthorne, N.Y., Republican voter Scott Gray, a land surveyor who voted for Mr. Trump in two elections, said he had wearied of him. “I think he did a lot of things right,” Mr. Gray said, then immediately darted in the other direction: “But I think he’s completely unpresidential. I can’t believe he’s still running for office.”

    2. Republican voter Ms. Seltman, a manicurist, said she would “always stay loyal” to Mr. Trump. “But for the Presidency? I’d like to see DeSantis have his chance,” she said. “He’s done well with Florida, and I’d like to see what he does with the nation. Get it back to how it used to be.”

    3. “If he messed around with prostitutes, so what? Everyone does that.” Republican voter Allen Terry said of the payment to the former porn star, Stormy Daniels. “Still. It’s immoral. It’s wrong. He shouldn’t have done it. But what does that have to do with his presidency?”

    4. Iowa Repblican voter Gypsy Russ said Mr. Trump had shown over and over that he is not presidential. “He’s just very rude,” she said. “And he doesn’t talk like a president is supposed to.” Although he has many fans, including her parents, she added, “He didn’t gain any more followers because of the way he carries himself.”

    5. In Hawthorne, Republican voter Palmy Vocaturo said he twice voted for Mr. Trump, but his confidence in him has eroded in light of the criminal investigations, not just in Manhattan but in cases pursued by a Georgia prosecutor and a special counsel for the Justice Department.
    “I’m getting mixed feelings,” said Mr. Vocaturo, a retired construction worker. “If he is as bad as I think he is, go ahead and do something,” he said of the indictment.”

    Who is winning in all of this mess?
    DEMOCRATS. That’s who.
    Trump is helping elect Democrats.
    Trump is helping to reelect Joe Biden.
    Go ahead, weak-minded Trump fans! Send Trump your weekly paycheck!
    Good God.

Comments are closed.