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Minnesota Has 2nd Largest Increase in Prison Population in the Nation This Decade

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Only West Virginia saw its state and federal prison population increase at a higher rate from 2000-2008

Despite being one of 19 states which experienced a drop in its prison population during the last year, new data released this month by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) shows Minnesota has endured the second largest growth of prisoners in state and federal correctional facilities across the nation this decade.

Minnesota, which has the 21st largest population in the country at just over 5.2 million residents, entered the decade with only the 35th largest number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state or federal correctional authorities, at 6,238.

However, the Gopher State has seen its prison population increase by more than 50 percent since 2000, according to an analysis by Smart Politics of data provided in a new report released by the BJS.

By the end of 2008, there were 9,406 such prisoners in Minnesota - or an increase of 50.8 percent since 2000. The Gopher State moved up three spots to #32 in the nation for the largest total number of prisoners within its borders.

West Virginia led the nation with the biggest prison population boom - seeing its prisoners under state and federal correctional authorities increase by a 57.1 percent rate during the past eight years. Only three states, New York (-14.0 percent), New Jersey (-12.9 percent), and Maryland (-0.9 percent) saw a net decrease this decade in its number of prisoners.

According to the new BJS report, the net increase of just 12,201 prisoners across the country from 2007 to 2008 is the smallest annual increase nationwide since 2000 (0.8 percent). By the end of 2008 there were 1,610,446 men and women in state and federal correctional facilities across the USA.

Approximately 87.5 percent of such prisoners across the country are in state correctional facilities, with 12.5 percent in federal facilities. However, state prison populations rose just 13.1 percent nationwide from 2000 to 2008, with federal prison populations rising at a 38.4 percent clip.

Looking at states in the Upper Midwest region, North Dakota experienced the ninth largest increase in the nation in state and federal prisoners since 2000, with its prison population rising at a rate of 34.9 percent to 1,452 total prisoners. South Dakota's rate of increase was ranked #14 in the nation (27.8 percent; 3,342 prisoners), while Wisconsin was ranked #33 (12.7 percent; 23,380 prisoners), and Iowa was ranked #38 (10.2 percent; 8,766 prisoners).

It should be noted that not all states have the same number of federal correctional facilities. For example, Minnesota has low security prisons in Waseca and Sandstone and a minimum security prison in Duluth. Wisconsin has a medium security facility in Oxford and South Dakota has a minimum security prison in Yankton. Iowa and North Dakota do not have any such federal correctional institutions.

Looking at the broader 12-state Midwest region, the prisoner population increased 11.1 percent from 2000 to 2008. Prison populations increased by 16.8 percent in the 13 Western states, 15.3 percent in the 16 Southern states, and by just 2.8 percent in the nine Northeastern states.

From 2007 to 2008 the prison population in Minnesota decreased by 0.7 percent, or approximately 60 prisoners. This was the 14th largest decrease in the nation. Wisconsin saw a decrease of 1.5 percent over the past year - good for the 9th largest decrease in the country.

Change in Rate of Prisoners under the Jurisdiction of State or Federal Correctional Authorities by State, 2000-2008

Rank
State
12/31/2000
12/31/2008
Change
1
West Virginia
3,856
6,059
57.13
2
Minnesota
6,238
9,406
50.79
3
Arizona
26,510
39,589
49.34
4
Kentucky
14,919
21,706
45.49
5
Florida
71,319
102,388
43.56
6
Indiana
20,125
28,322
40.73
7
Colorado
16,833
23,274
38.26
8
Pennsylvania
36,847
50,147
36.10
9
North Dakota
1,076
1,452
34.94
10
Oregon
10,580
14,167
33.90
11
Idaho
5,535
7,290
31.71
12
Maine
1,679
2,195
30.73
13
New Hampshire
2,257
2,904
28.67
14
South Dakota
2,616
3,342
27.75
15
Virginia
30,168
38,276
26.88
16
Nevada
10,063
12,743
26.63
17
North Carolina
31,266
39,482
26.28
18
Vermont
1,697
2,116
24.69
19
Wyoming
1,680
2,084
24.05
20
Arkansas
11,915
14,716
23.51
21
Rhode Island
3,286
4,045
23.10
22
Tennessee
22,166
27,228
22.84
23
Washington
14,915
17,926
20.19
24
Alaska
4,173
5,014
20.15
25
New Mexico
5,342
6,402
19.84
26
Georgia
44,232
52,719
19.19
27
Hawaii
5,053
5,955
17.85
28
Montana
3,105
3,607
16.17
29
Utah
5,637
6,546
16.13
30
Nebraska
3,895
4,520
16.05
31
Alabama
26,332
30,508
15.86
32
Ohio
45,833
51,686
12.77
33
Wisconsin
20,754
23,380
12.65
34
Connecticut
18,355
20,661
12.56
35
Mississippi
20,241
22,754
12.42
36
South Carolina
21,778
24,326
11.70
37
Oklahoma
23,181
25,864
11.57
38
Iowa
7,955
8,766
10.19
39
Missouri
27,543
30,186
9.60
40
Louisiana
35,207
38,381
9.02
41
California
163,001
173,670
6.55
42
Massachusetts
10,722
11,408
6.40
43
Texas
166,719
172,506
3.47
44
Kansas
8,344
8,539
2.34
45
Delaware
6,921
7,075
2.23
46
Michigan
47,718
48,738
2.14
47
Illinois
45,281
45,474
0.43
48
Maryland
23,538
23,324
-0.91
49
New Jersey
29,784
25,953
-12.86
50
New York
70,199
60,347
-14.03
Data compiled from Prisoners in 2008, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.

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Previous post: How Does the Current Minnesota Unemployment Situation Compare to 1982?
Next post: Gasoline Prices in Minnesota Up 49 Percent from One Year Ago

2 Comments


  • It would be interesting to know how the percentages break down as they relate to which crimes are requiring incarceration.

    With the state budget as it is and Chief Justice Magnuson calling for more money or smaller cuts in his department. I wonder if victimless crimes will no longer be considered when prison time is being allocated to offenders.

  • Do state databases for inmates have any protocols for connecting to each other so as to not miss an inmate having crimes from state to state?

  • Leave a comment


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