Iowa's prison population is declining, and the aging of baby boomers may be aiding that trend, reports the Quad-City Times. The prison total was 8,458 on Monday, the lowest count since a record 8,840 on Oct. 3, 2007. It was also a low of 670 female inmates, whose numbers had climbed to a record 798 on May 6, 2007, said Lettie Prell of the Iowa Department of Corrections. One official attributed the decline to a pattern of decreasing prison admissions, with a significant drop in drug-related convictions, fewer crimes being committed, fewer arrests being made or felony charges being reduced via plea bargains.
Prell said Iowa’s tough laws targeting methamphetamine production has resulted in a nose dive in felony drug convictions. Another factor may relate to Iowa’s demographics, with the baby-boom generation of criminals getting older – no longer part of the 18-25 age group with the highest rate of prison admissions – and less likely to re-offend for crimes that would return them to prison.