Missouri’s prison population has eased after hitting a record for number of inmates at the start of the month. The prison population had declined for about three years before reaching 30,720 people in men’s and women’s prisons. Corrections director George Lombardi says the population has grown by fifteen women and 255 men since January first. But since the first of October, the population is down about 25, a trend he hopes continues.
The old inmate record, set five years ago this month, was 30,654. The figures do not include the number of people on probation or parole or in home detention who also are considered under the supervision of the department. That number is normally about double the inmate population.
Lombardi says the record is the product of “insidious”: growth. He says most of the growth is new commitments rather than former inmates returning for new crimes or violations of their supervised release. He thinks it’s a reflection of more crimes in some areas, faster adjudication, or some jail systems that are clearing a backlog of cases.
Lombardi says the majority of the new inmates have been convicted of serious crimes that will require them to serve 85% of their sentences.