For the first time in the last ten years, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections did not need to ask the Pennsylvania Legislature for more money.
That’s because the prison population growth has leveled off after 30 years of fairly consistent increases. The November month-end population in Pennsylvania prisons was 51,260. That’s compared to 51,467 a year ago. Stemming the tide of the prison population growth is an important step in the process of right-sizing the Pennsylvania criminal justice that gained steam in October with the passage of a justice reinvestment package in that state.
Pennsylvania has also been able to end the expensive practice of contracting for prison beds in other states to handle the overflow of prisoners. The state is now well-poised to implement the same types of reforms that Ohio, Texas, Georgia, and other states have used to cut prison costs and better protect public safety.