Prisons and Jails

State prison populations experienced a slight decline between 2008 and 2009, while the federal population increased 3.4 percent.  However, state prison populations have risen significantly - up by 13 percent - since 2000.  

Over a two-week period in June, a bipartisan group of state leaders from across the political spectrum in both North Carolina and Ohio came together in their respective states to enact comprehensive, data-driven legislation resulting from justice reinvestment initiatives. The bills in both states will increase public safety and reduce crime by making probation more effective, ensuring, for example, that those people who are most likely to reoffend are not left unsupervised. Both bills increase sentence lengths for certain high-risk property offenders or the most serious and violent offenders, while expanding sentencing options for nonviolent and first-time felony offenders.

Like most states, Alabama is currently facing the crisis of an overcrowded prison population and a recidivism rate that significantly threatens public safety and exacerbates already bleak state and local government budget shortfalls. Rather than continue to spend vast sums of money on a system that is clearly broken, Alabama is beginning the process of interbranch cooperation to implement effective reforms in the areas of sentencing and corrections at the state and local levels. A number of efforts are currently underway. For the sake of public safety and stark financial reality, Alabama must continue to modify its laws and carry out reforms to lower the costly burden of corrections and stop the revolving door of recidivism.

Chapter 9 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Book of the States 2011

Chapter 9: Selected State Policies and Programs

Articles:

  1. An Impossible Choice: Reconciling State Budget Cuts and Disasters that Demand Adequate Management
  2. ...

For the first time since 1977, the nation’s state prison population is on the decline, and Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin are among the 24 states that contributed to the decrease.

Inmates in correctional facilities have higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections than the general population. State and local corrections, public health and community-based programs are helping inmates get tested and obtain treatment for HIV and other infections.  Five southern states have higher rates than the national average of inmates living with HIV infections. 

Inmates in state prisons and jails have higher rates of HIV and STIs than the general population.  Although inmates are usually infected prior to incarceration, they are often first diagnosed by correctional health services due to lack of access to health care and other factors.  

Inmates in state prisons and jails have higher rates of HIV and STIs than the general population.  Inmates are usually infected prior to incarceration, but due to lack of access to health care and other factors they are often first diagnosed by correctional health services.  To stop the spread of infections in communities when inmates are released, state and local corrections, public health and community-based programs are collaborating to help inmates get tested and access  treatment for HIV and other STIs—both before and after release.

As of 2008, about 450 state prisoners in Illinois were living with HIV.

Most of these inmates have one thing in common: They will eventually be released from prison. About 85 percent of those released will end up in the Chicago area, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Nearly half of the inmates in New York’s prisons return to the community each year. New York was also one of three states that housed nearly half the 20,000 state prisoners across the country who had HIV or confirmed AIDS. Correctional health care is not only good for the health of inmates and correctional staff—it’s also about preventing the spread of infections to their families and communities when prisoners are released.

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