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December 2, 2006

Fascinating state stories in prison data

As I have noted before, the official Justice Department reports on prison populations (latest available here) include fascinating state-by-state data.  Particularly catching my eye in the latest report is Table 4, which shows changes in total prison populations over the last 10 years. 

What I found most intriguing was that five states had a decline or virtually no growth in their prison populations over the last 10 years:  Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.  Meanwhile, in six other states, the prison population doubled over the last 10 years: Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

The state-by-state story in the Midwest region is especially dynamic: Illinois, Michigan and Ohio had relatively little prison growth while neighboring Minnesota and Wisconsin have experienced huge increases in their prison populations.

I wonder if anyone is taking a close look at crime rates in states over the last decade to see if we can learn more about the complicated relationship between imprisonment and crime rates:

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December 2, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink


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