The Birmingham News is reporting that while the number of state prison inmates declined nationally the number increased in Alabama…mostly due to non-violent drug offenses.
The nation’s number of state prison inmates dropped slightly in 2009 — the first decrease recorded in nearly 38 years — but Ala bama’s prison population went in the other direction.
According to a report from the Public Safety Per formance Project of the Pew Center on the States, Ala bama’s jurisdictional prison population — the number of inmates the state is re sponsible for housing — to taled 31,561 on Jan. 1. That is an increase of 3.5 percent over the population of 30,508 listed on Dec. 31, 2008.
Over the same period, ac cording to the report, the nation’s state prison population dropped 0.4 percent, from 1,408,830 to 1,403,091.
Alabama Corrections Commissioner Richard Al len said his department has been working to reduce its prison population. If the state had not adopted a package of sentencing guidelines several years ago, the population would be even higher, he said.
One problem is that judges and district attor neys are not using the guidelines as much “as we think they should,” Allen said.
According to a Depart ment of Corrections report prepared for Allen, drug offenders made up nearly 34 percent of the 11,729 in mates who entered the jurisdictional prison popula tion in fiscal 2008.
So, 34% of the new entries into the prison system in Alabama were drug offenders. Boy I tell ya, that drug war just works out so magnificently for keeping people from using drugs, don’t it?
Why can’t legislators grow a pair and stop doing stupid shit like this which only makes the problem worse?