In my column for the paper this morning, I wrote about the decline in the combined U.S. prison population, which hasn't seen a reduction since the 1970s. The Pew Center on the States credits changes in how states are running their parole and reentry programs.
One of our readers, though, made a good point: There might be fewer people going to prison because the United States has been experiencing a significant drop in violent crime over the past several years.
Which, frankly, most people don't seem to realize. We've done a lot of posts over the years pointing this out. It might be partly due to -- and believe me, I hate saying this -- the media. Crime coverage is a big part of most local news. (Justifiably so, I would argue.) And police procedurals / crime dramas constitute a considerable chunk of TV programming.
If you're constantly hearing about people getting murdered, even fictional ones, it's no wonder that you might think crime is a problem.