Most States Project Prison Populations to Keep Growing

The number of inmates in state prisons is set to rise 3 percent by 2018 and reverse a recent downward trend.



The number of inmates in state prisons is set to rise 3 percent by 2018, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The organization collected data from 34 states, containing about 70 percent of the current U.S. prison population. Most said they expect inmate increases, some quite substantially (Iowa, for instance, anticipates 16 percent growth by 2018). Only six states foresee their prison populations dropping.

"This snapshot suggests that, without policy reforms, the recent uptick in the number of state inmates reported by the Justice Department in 2014—the first increase in four years—could continue over the next four years," Pew cautions.

From the mid-1970s through 2008, state prisons grew steadily. Then 2009 saw the state prison population drop modestly for the first time in decades. But this trend reversed again in 2013, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

When measured against projected population growth by 2018, state imprisonment rates could remain steady or decline, even as the number of inmates continues to rise. States expecting the biggest inmate population increases include Iowa (up 16 percent), Wyoming (14 percent), Alaska (11 percent), Arizona (9 percent), Tennessee (9 percent), Utah (8 percent), Arkansas (7 percent), California (7 percent), and Nebraska (7 percent). "Projections in some states do not incorporate recent policy changes that may significantly affect future prison populations," such as California's passage of Proposition 47, Pew notes. 

The six states that project to actually lower the number of people imprisoned include: Hawaii (by less than 1 percent), Louisiana (by 3 percent), Massachusetts (2 percent), North Carolina (1 percent), Oregon (1 percent), and Pennsylvania (6 percent).

Most of these states have recently passed sentencing or prison reform legislation (Oregon in 2013; North Carolina in 2011; Pennsylvania in 2012Hawaii in 2014). Prior to passing its reforms, North Carolina was looking at a 10 percent increase in the state prison population by 2020.  

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  1. I don’t understand how the prison population has boomed. I mean, I know those guys screw all the time, but they can’t get pregnant that way, can they?

    1. Immigration to the Prisons, mostly.

    2. Its the nightmare scenario. Prisoners bread with prison guards to create a moron of hybrid vigor.

        1. Look for the union label.

    3. When one realizes that the 13th Amendment has a loophole for convicted criminals, all is suddenly clear.

  2. Prison populations are going to keep increasing anywhere there is a powerful prison guard union and where the local economy is based on prisons. So parts of CA, upstate NY, etc. These places are like factory towns except the mill doesn’t process wood or steel, it processes human beings.

    1. Disgusting but true.

  3. Most States Project Prison Populations to Keep Growing

    Is there some shakedown that no one else knows about? Or is it that the plan to place 25 million Americans in “re-education” camps is finally coming into fruition?

  4. Well, no surprise there, since the number of laws certainly isn’t decreasing. Just ask Progressives how many more people they believe should be in prison.

  5. Fuck yeah, Pennsylvania!

  6. Could we have more analysis distinguishing between nonviolent and/or first-time offenders, on the one hand, and violent recidivists, on the other hand?

    Because if this anti-prison campaign is left to the progs, they will be releasing people indiscriminately – Reason and others should step up to the plate and emphasize the distinctions among types of prisoner and who should be, and who shouldn’t be, eligible for release.

      1. But, but, but… What about the families of people who use drugs? Aren’t they victims? I mean, they are put through unimaginable emotional trauma when people close to them are ravaged by drugs! That’s why we need to put dealers in prison!
        What? You’re putting Johnny in prison? It’s not his fault! Go after the dealers! Three strikes? Noooooooo!

  7. The number of inmates in state prisons is set to rise 3 percent by 2018, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

    And if it doesn’t, we’ll keep passing laws against victimless crime until it does.

    1. Manufacturing Torment

      a book not written by Noam Chomsky

  8. Mark Twain, paraphrased:

    If you go to a prison, you will see the worst of the human race. You will also see prisoners.

    In other news, an excerpt from a letter to my local paper:

    We looked the other way while gays and lesbians took over the media, the government, schools and corporations. They have brainwashed and intimidated people so well that they are running and ruining the country. Homosexuals and the media lied to us about homosexuality being an alternative life-style that we should all accept. Ask yourself, “Are there more sexual crimes than ever before?” We have abandoned our families, our children and sacrificed them on the altar of sexual perversion. The majority doesn’t accept it but the judges have ruled that it will be pushed down our throats. In the first place, every state has the right for its citizens to make its laws and federal judges have no right to over-rule states’ rights.

    herp herp herpa derp!

  9. Is the anticipated prison population increase related to the rape kit backlog?…..story.html

  10. The number of inmates in state prisons is set to rise 3 percent by 2018

    Emphasis added. Whose promise is *that*?

    1. Quotas are a myth, dude.

  11. my roomate’s step-aunt makes $64 hourly on the internet . She has been fired for nine months but last month her income was $19433 just working on the internet for a few hours. check this ….


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