The Sentencing Project Asks, and Answers: Can We Wait 60 Years to Cut the Prison Population in Half?
Date:  01-24-2021

At the going rate, the decline will take 57 years
From The Sentencing Project:

Following a nearly 700% increase between 1972 and 2009, the U.S. prison population declined 11% in the subsequent 10 years. At this rate of decline it will take 57 years — until 2078 — to cut the prison population in half, according to a new analysis by The Sentencing Project's Senior Research Analyst Nazgol Ghandnoosh.

Can We Wait 60 Years to Cut the Prison Population in Half? finds that the federal government and all but four states had downsized their prisons by year-end 2019. For 25 states, the reduction in imprisonment was less than 10%. Nine states— Alaska, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Alabama, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, and California—led the nation in reducing their prison populations by over 30% since reaching their peak levels. But two of these states, Alaska and Alabama, are poised to reverse some of this progress, and Alabama plans to build more prisons to address its dangerous overcrowding rather than reduce a still-bloated prison system.

Four states had their highest ever prison populations in 2019: Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, and Kansas. While some critics have feared that decarceration would lead to rising crime, several states with the most substantial reductions in their prison populations outpaced the nationwide crime drop. Since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, a number of states and the federal system have made additional, albeit limited, reductions in their prison populations. This analysis underscores the need to reduce unnecessarily high levels of imprisonment amidst a public health crisis and going forward. Continue reading >>>: