One in three states closed prisons between 2011 and 2013, according to two new reports released today by The Sentencing Project, a non-profit organization.
Two reports document “the trend of states downsizing prison systems and adopting sentencing policy reforms,” according to a press release.
The trend included a reduction of 37,000 beds nationwide. Six states accounted for a reduction of 11,000 beds in 2013 alone.
Researchers estimate the cost savings of $97 million for the 2013 closings. They attribute the trend to sentencing and parole reforms — in the areas of drug policy, diversion programs, and reductions in parole revocations to prison — undertaken in 31 states.
Reforms included expanded incarceration alternatives, policies to reduce recidivism and “comprehensive juvenile justice measures that emphasize prevention and diversion.”