The occupancy rate at Iowa's nine prisons was up in fiscal 2010 after two years of declining inmate populations, says the Quad-City Times. Iowa ended the fiscal year on June 30 with 8,608 inmates, compared with 8,453 a year earlier. The uptick came in a year that saw the lowest number of prison admissions (5,130) in 10 years and the smallest number of releases (4,975) since fiscal 2002.
A major factor in last year's increase was a jump of 203 in total new court commitments that offset clines in parole revocations and other areas. Paul Stageberg of the state Department of Human Rights does not think the rise was related to economic factors in Iowa or nationally. “The change that we saw during the year, with a drop in the first half of the fiscal year and then a rise during the second half, is pretty significant with what we predicted a year ago. So it wasn't a surprise,” Stageberg said. “That said, it's still a little bit worrisome.”