Showing posts with label incarceration rate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label incarceration rate. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

If Tennessee was its own country, it would have the 9th highest incarceration rate in the world

By Adam Friedman

Tennessee has one of the highest rates of people put in jail or prison, a report released by the Prison Policy Institute found.

With more than 5,500 people in local jails or state and federal prisons, Tennessee has the ninth-highest incarceration rate in the world based on population if each U.S. state were considered its own country. Seven states, mainly in the U.S. South, and El Salvador are the only places that have higher rates of people in jails or prisons.

The Prison Policy Initiative is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that produces research and reports to “expose the broader harm of mass criminalization.”

The incarceration rate report analyzes prison data from various U.S. counties, states and other countries, using population data to find which ones have the most people locked up.

“Many of the countries that rank alongside the least punitive U.S. states, such as Turkmenistan, Belarus, Russia, and Azerbaijan, have authoritarian or dictatorial governments, but the U.S. — the land of the free — still incarcerates more people per capita than almost every other nation,” wrote Emily Wildra in the report, published at the end of June.

The Prison Policy Initiative has produced this prison rate report since at least 2016. Tennessee’s incarceration rate has slightly dropped over time, but not at the rate of some other U.S. states.

Arizona’s incarceration rate is 18% lower compared to 2021. Tennessee’s rate dropped by 2% over the same period.

New state laws, referred to as “Truth in Sentencing,” to restrict how quickly those convicted of certain felonies can qualify for parole are likely to reverse some of these trends.

State Republican lawmakers are also pushing for changes to Tennessee’s bail system, making it easier to revoke it. The change would require a constitutional amendment, which could appear on the ballot for voters as soon as 2026

This article originally appeared in the Tennessee Lookout on July 3rd, 2024

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