December , 2018

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From: Marc Mauer <staff@sentencingproject.org>


Marc Mauer’s Statement:
I’m writing to share a new analysis revealing that while most states have downsized their prison populations in recent years, the pace of decarceration is insufficient to undo nearly four decades of unrelenting growth. At the recent pace of decarceration, it will take 75 years—until 2093—to cut the U.S. prison population by 50 percent.By 2016, 42 states had at least modestly downsized their prison populations from their peak levels in the last two decades. Six states—New Jersey, Alaska, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and California—lead the nation in reducing their prison populations by 25% or more. Southern states including Mississippi and South Carolina have also made double-digit percentage reductions in their prison populations. But the pace of state and federal prison decarceration has been modest overall, declining 6% since a 2009 peak.
While the recent national decline in the prison population is encouraging, any significant decarceration will require more sustained attention. Expediting the end of mass incarceration will involve accelerating the end of the Drug War and expanding sentencing reforms to include serious crimes.

I hope this assessment will be useful to you in your work. Please contact Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Senior Research Analyst, at nghandnoosh@sentencingproject.org with questions about this briefing paper.


Marc Mauer
Executive Director


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