The number of people incarcerated in the Kansas prison system during 2009 was higher than the previous year. But the state still has a prison rate that’s far lower than national averages, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Bill Miskell, communications director for the Kansas Department of Corrections, said the state has been focusing on limiting prison population increases by decreasing the number of parolees who return to prison.
“Otherwise, the numbers would’ve been much higher,” Miskell said.
Here’s a look at Kansas and national incarceration rates:
• The Kansas prison population increased from 8,534 to 8,641 by year end 2009, an increase of 1.2 percent.
• The Kansas increase outpaced the national yearly increase, which rose 0.2 of 1 percent to more than 1.6 million offenders in state and federal prisons and local jails.
• Since 2000, however, the Kansas prison growth rate has been 3.5 percent, compared to the national growth rate of 15 percent.
• Kansas ranks 12th lowest in the country with an incarceration rate of 303 people per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 504.
• Of neighboring states, only Nebraska is ranked lower at eighth, with a prison rate of 179. Maine has the lowest rate at 151, while Louisiana incarcerates the highest percentage of the population with a rate of 853.