The total U.S. prison population fell last year for the first time in nearly four decades, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. The 1.6 million behind bars was a decline of 0.6 percent. The number of state prisoners fell by 10,881 while the federal prison population continued to grow, adding 1,653 to reach a total of 209,771.
BJS said the number of offenders under adult correctional supervision fell 1.3 percent in 2010, the second consecutive year of decline. At year-end 2010, about 7.1 million people, or 1 in 33 adults, were under the supervision of adult correctional authorities. Half of states reported decreases in their prison population during 2010. The largest decreases were in California (6,213) and Georgia (4,207), followed by New York (2,031) and Michigan (1,365). The largest increase was in Illinois (3,257), followed by Texas (2,400) and Arkansas (996).