Mar 4, 2024 - News

Iowa reduces its prison population

Data: Bureau of Justice Statistics; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
Data: Bureau of Justice Statistics; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Iowa's prison population shrank 1% between 2021 and 2022, according to the latest Justice Department data.

Why it matters: The downsizing comes as the U.S. overall combined state and federal prison population bumped up 2.1% — the first increase in almost a decade, a recent DOJ report found.

Zoom in: Iowa prison officials recently credited treatment programs as well as increased access to education and apprenticeships for lower recidivism rates.

Reality check: The U.S. prison population remains extremely high compared to the years before Nixon-era "war on drugs" and "tough on crime" politics took hold, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • That includes Iowa, where there were fewer than 2,000 prisoners in 1978 and just under 8,500 in 2022.
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