Arkansas still leads the way in imprisonment | Arkansas Blog

Arkansas still leads the way in imprisonment


The Brennan Center reports that there are 2.3 million people in U.S. jails and prisons, a 500 percent increase over 40 years and the world's highest incarceration rate. Arkansas stands out in a country already leading in a dubious metric.

Arkansas leads the country in prison population growth rate between 2006-14 with a 23 percent growth rate.

We believe in punishment here. Most places have stopped corporal punishment. As a matter of state policy, we'd never consider it. Sen. Tom Cotton is single-handedly blocking justice reform legislation because he wants to continue to be able to jail juveniles for status offenses like skipping school or running away from home.

Says the Brennan Center about that:

Two overarching findings:

1. Many argue that increased incarceration is necessary to reduce crime. Yet the data shows the opposite. Over the last ten years, 27 states have decreased both crime and imprisonment. Not only is this trend possible, it’s played out in the majority of states. Nationally, imprisonment and crime have fallen together, 7 percent and 23 percent respectively since 2006. Crime continued its downward trend while incarceration also decreased.

2. In recent years, states in the South have seen some of the largest decreases in imprisonment. Yet, they also remain the largest incarcerators in the country. Mississippi reduced imprisonment by 10 percent but still has the nation’s 5th highest incarceration rate. Texas has reduced imprisonment by 15 percent yet still has the 7th highest imprisonment rate in the country.

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