Crime in America.Net
A new report from the Department of Justice (Bureau of Justice Statistics) provides a new look at declining populations of people on state (rather than federal) community supervision.
While the differences in the percentages are not large and a core group of states account for much of the impact, the overall numbers may represent significant changes in direction for current (and possibly future) trends.
As stated throughout this site, states are struggling with massive budget problems so a change in priorities and direction was expected. The number of people incarcerated is also declining for the first time in years, see http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/06/23/national-state-prison-populations-decline-for-the-first-time-since-1972/.
The real story will unfold in the future as to the degree of change and the impact on criminal justice policy. The bulk of current news reporting focuses on changes at the state level as states rearrange practices in incarceration and community supervision.
The bottom-line is that states cannot afford current correctional expenditures and cutbacks are inevitable. See http://crimeinamerica.net/category/budgetimpact/.
The report documents the first decline in the population of individuals on parole (released from prisons) or probation (released by the courts) since 1980.
One out of every 47 adults were under active community supervision.
Felons on probation reversed an eight year trend and rose to 51 percent.
Probationers declined 0.9 percent (2008-2009).
Parolees declined 0.7 percent (2008-2009)
The percentage of probationers completing their term of supervision or discharged early increased to 65 percent.
The percentage of parolees completing their term of supervision or discharged early increased to 51 percent.
Three states accounted for almost half of the probation decline (Washington, California and Florida) principally through an effort to focus on high-risk offenders.
This was the second year in a row for declining state parole populations.
Two states accounted for more than two-thirds of the parole decrease (California and Washington).