If the current decline in our incarceration rate holds steady, America will return to imprisonment levels not seen since the 1970s by, oh, the year 2166 or so.
Yes, that’s about 150 years. No, that’s not good news. Today’s new report on the state of incarceration in the U.S. by the Vera Institute of Justice isn’t actually intended to throw ice-cold water on the successes of modern day criminal justice reform efforts. But it is a sobering look at the slow speed by which we’re scaling back on throwing people behind bars, particularly when compared to the rush to lock people up during the drug wars of the past few decades.
Furthermore, this reduction in incarceration is far from evenly distributed across the country. Ten states are driving the biggest decarceration numbers. The other 40 states, when combined, actually show a small increase in incarceration rates.
Fundamentally, what the Vera Institute report shows