Governor Tom Wolf today claimed the largest reduction of inmates in the Pennsylvania state prison system since record keeping began.
In 2018, the total DOC inmate population dropped from 48,438 to 47,370, a decrease of 1,068 inmates or 2.2 percent over 2017. The inmate population has declined six of the past seven years.
“The 2018 calendar year reduction represents the single largest year-over-year decrease of inmate population on record,” Gov. Wolf said. “The historic decline demonstrates that common-sense criminal justice reforms work and bolsters the case for expanding reforms while ensuring the safety of all citizens.”
“Only a decade ago, Pennsylvania was shipping inmates to other states because of overcrowding,” said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “The work of the Department of Corrections and Board of Probation and Parole along with the reforms under the Justice Reinvestment Initiative made the seemingly impossible possible: Reducing the prison population, while at the same time crime rates are among the lowest in a generation.”
Pennsylvania does not keep up with other states, for example Michigan, which last year the Michigan Department of Corrections said says the state’s prison population declined by more than 7 percent over the last three years, attributing a renewed focus on prisoner education and vocational training to the decline with the state closing prisons. Last year Michigan’s prison population dropped to below 40,000 for the first time in more than 20 years.