The Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM) announced yesterday that the state’s prison population is shrinking. According to the OPM’s July Monthly Indicators Report:
On July 1, 16,591 people were incarcerated in state prison facilities. The last time this figure was lower on July 1 was in 1998.
The prison population continues to drop at a rate and in a manner that defies historical modeling. Between October 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012, the prison system shrank by 1,171 inmates. This rate of decline in the prison population is without precedent in Connecticut.
Speaking to Reentry Central at a Town Hall Meeting in New Haven on community safety issues, policing, and block watch policy changes last evening, Senator Martin Looney, Majority Leader of the Connecticut General Assembly, said that the lower numbers in the state’s prison population can be attributed to several factors which include alternatives to incarceration programs, less arrests due to successful community policing initiatives and more intervention, and reentry programs which reduce recidivism.
When asked by Reentry Central about the role that gainful employment plays in reducing crime, lowering recidivism rates, and increasing public safety, Looney replied that employment is a crucial component to successful reentry. In the past, Looney has supported legislation that has encouraged employers to hire qualified individuals with a criminal history, including the Ban the Box job application initiative.