Study: La.’s incarceration rate leads nation

Published 4:54 pm Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Louisiana last year, federal records show 857 of every 100,000 residents were in prison — a rate that led the nation.

Statistics released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics are for the first half of 2007. Officials note Louisiana also led the nation, with 824 inmates per 100,000 residents, in a similar study completed in 2005.

At 723, Mississippi had the second-highest rate of imprisonment in early 2007.

The bureau’s report was released at a time when the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts concluded that taxpayers are losing bang from their bucks because of decisions by many states to imprison more offenders for longer periods. Pew researchers said such policies are draining money from other programs, such as education and health care.

Pew says those costs to state budgets totaled more than $44 billion last year.