By Joe Gamm
A speaker told listeners Wednesday night at Lincoln University that Missouri is one of eight states whose prison populations have continued to grow in recent years, putting pressure on state revenue and resources.
Other states have started to decline, according to Nicole D. Porter, who manages state and local efforts for The Sentencing Project, a national research and advocacy center that aims to reduce the use of incarceration in the United States. Porter told about 50 people listening in Page Library that New Jersey has had a 37 percent decrease in its prison population.
During the evening’s discussion, she talked about how reductions of incarcerations of non-violent offenders can lead to better outcomes and reduced costs for Missouri.
Mass incarceration has emptied some communities of young men, Porter said.
“These issues are really impactful; they hurt and they harm,” she said. “It’s not to excuse any behavior that may lead to crime or harm to victims but it is about incarceration that is incredibly punitive.”