Louisiana is one of the few states in the nation that won't be scrambling to put more people in jail over the next five years, a national prison forecast released Wednesday indicates. That means the state could lose, temporarily, its distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the country, reports the Baton Rouge Advocate. Those were among the findings in the Pew Charitable Trusts' Public Safety Performance Project, which projects prison populations in every state through 2011.
Nationwide, get-tough policies that require offenders be locked up for longer sentences are propelling a projected increase of nearly 200,000 inmates over the next five years. That growth – three times faster than the country's overall population growth – is expected to cost more than $27 billion. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country – with 835 inmates per 100,000 population.