Non-Violent State Inmates Declining for 20 Years

From Keith Humphreys:

Prison is the subject of many myths in the public policy world. For example, many people believe that the size of the prison population has continued to rise under President Obama, when in fact it has fallen. Other observers maintain that prison populations drop during economic downturns, when in fact the reverse has generally been true. An even more widely embraced myth is that states have been increasingly incarcerating non-violent offenders. But as this chart from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) shows, the proportion of the state prison population that is serving time for a non-violent crime has been declining since the early 1990s.

I want to read more about this. I know that prison populations have been declining in recent years, but my impression was that they’ve grown considerably over 20 years and that violent crime is down. Those impressions may have been wrong, but if they are not, I want to see how you have shrinking violent crime, growing prison populations and declining non-violent prison populations.

I wonder if rolling in federal inmates would change the percentages much.


“the drug of choice right now”

Suboxone (hint: the fish) was hidden in this coloring book.

The NY Times reports on the new hot drug in prisons:

Mr. Barrett and other prison officials nationwide are searching their facilities, mail and visitors for Suboxone, a drug used as a treatment for opiate addiction that has become coveted as contraband. Innovative smugglers have turned crushed Suboxone pills into a paste and spread it under stamps or over children’s artwork, including pages from a princess coloring book found in a New Jersey jail.

The drug also comes in thin strips, which dissolve under the tongue, that smugglers have tucked behind envelope seams and stamps.

“It’s become a crisis in here, to be honest with you,” said Maj. Francine Breton, administrator of the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, Me. “It’s the drug of choice right now.”

Law enforcement officials say that Suboxone, which is prescribed to treat addiction to heroin and powerful painkillers like oxycodone, has become a drug of abuse in its own right, resulting in prison smuggling efforts from New Mexico to Maine.