Arizona Prison Population Remains Flat

July 25, 2013

New numbers from the federal government show Arizona had basically the same number of prisoners last year as in 2011.That bucks the national trend. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the country’s prison population dropped last year for the third straight year. The nearly 2 percent drop was a decrease of close to 28,000 prisoners, but in Arizona there were only seven fewer prisoners last year than the year before, leaving slightly more than 40,000 total. California had the biggest drop, about 10 percent from 2011.

Mona Lynch, professor of criminology, law and society at UC Irvine, said Arizona might be locking up more prisoners if it had the money to do so.

"I think this really reflects the fiscal situation in Arizona. There’s certainly not been the kind of structural reform that would be needed to join the trends," Lynch said.

Among the states whose prison populations increased were New Hampshire, North Dakota and West Virginia.

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