Work is underway by a task force charged with making changes to Missouri’s prison system. The group, recently created by Republican Governor Eric Greitens, is exploring a number of issues facing the state’s criminal justice system.
The state Corrections department has been overshadowed by dozens of cases of reported corruption, intimidation and harassment that have cost the state millions in settlements.
The task force is examining Missouri’s uptick in violent crime, the nation’s fastest growing female prison population, and an increasing number of people failing on probation and parole.
According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, the state’s prison population increased 6% between 2010 and 2015 and nearly half of all prison admissions were due to people being revoked from parole and probation.
Between 2010 and 2015, Missouri’s female prison population grew 3%, and over the next three years, it is projected to jump 15%. The majority of women in state prison in Missouri are admitted for nonviolent offenses.
The male prison population is expected to increase 2% during the same period.
The state has an estimated 32,700 prisoners. Overall, Missouri has the nation’s 8th highest incarceration rate.
Missouri is participating in a federal initiative to find solutions aimed at containing corrections spending and reinvesting in strategies that can reduce reoffending and increase public safety.