A new system that gives judges more information so they can sentence people properly to prison or probation seems to be paying off. The new system developed by the Sentencing Advisory Commission and the Department of Corrections gives judges recommendations about the person’s risk factors and recommendations for supervision that could keep them from returning to prison.
It is considered the primary reason Missouri is one of only eight states that have seen a prison population decline in the last year.
Corrections Department spokesman Brian Hauswirth says the trend is clear. Missouri’s prison population in 2004 went up by 850 inmates. In 2005, the first year the new guidelines were in use, inmate numbers dropped by 892. Last year, the inmate count declined by another 702, and has lowered the total number of prison inmates in Missouri to fewer than 30,000.
He says the men’s population has dropped…while the women’s population has increased.
Hauswirth says the new system means even more people under supervision by probation and parole workers who already carry a heavy load. But he says that system also is changing…to make the work more manageable.
Probation and Parole, which also is part of Corrections, supervises more than 60,000 people.