The nation's number of state prison inmates dropped slightly in 2009 -- the first decrease recorded in nearly 38 years -- but Alabama's prison population went in the other direction.
According to a report from the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States, Alabama's jurisdictional prison population -- the number of inmates the state is responsible for housing -- totaled 31,561 on Jan. 1. That is an increase of 3.5 percent over the population of 30,508 listed on Dec. 31, 2008.
Over the same period, according to the report, the nation's state prison population dropped 0.4 percent, from 1,408,830 to 1,403,091.
Alabama Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen said his department has been working to reduce its prison population. If the state had not adopted a package of sentencing guidelines several years ago, the population would be even higher, he said.
One problem is that judges and district attorneys are not using the guidelines as much "as we think they should," Allen said.
According to a Department of Corrections report prepared for Allen, drug offenders made up nearly 34 percent of the 11,729 inmates who entered the jurisdictional prison population in fiscal 2008.
So, 34% of the new entries into the prison system in Alabama were drug offenders. Boy I tell ya, that drug war just works out so magnificently for keeping people from using drugs, don't it?
Why can't legislators grow a pair and stop doing stupid shit like this which only makes the problem worse?