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U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2014: Broad Variation Among States in Recent Years

"Our comparative analysis of U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2014 reveals broad variation in nationwide incarceration trends. While 39 states have experienced a decline since reaching their peak prison populations within the past 15 years, in most states this decline has been relatively modest. In addition, 11 states have had continuing rises in imprisonment. These developments suggest that while the recent national decline in the prison population is encouraging, any significant decarceration will require more sustained attention. In this regard, 12 states have produced double-digit declines for some period since 1999, led by New Jersey (31%), New York (28%), Rhode Island (25%), and California (22%). Notably, these states have achieved substantial reductions with no adverse effect on public safety. Among states with rising prison populations, four have experienced double-digit increases, led by Nebraska and Arkansas, whose respective prisons populations grew by 22% and 18% since 2009. Despite sharing in the national crime drop, these states have resisted the trend toward decarceration" (website).