NY expects further drop in prison inmates

Jan 28, 2013

Credit Gemma Longman Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials project the state's prisons will shed 1,000 more inmates over the next four years, partly because of relaxed drug laws.

That follows a 25 percent drop since 1999.

The inmate population is below 55,000 after peaking at more than 72,000 in 1999 under the harsh Rockefeller-era drug laws.

Over the same period, authorities report a nearly 20 percent drop in violent crimes and property crimes.

Several sentencing provisions have been eased since the drug laws were enacted in 1973. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller championed them to fight a drug epidemic and related crime.

The prisoner total is expected to fall another 4 percent in four years.

As a result, the state has been closing minimum- and medium-security prisons and camps.