For the first time in nearly 40 years, the number of state prisoners in the United States has declined, according to the Department of Justice. While local jails have also experienced a modest decrease, those numbers may change with the diversion of state prisoners from state correctional facilities to local jails.
Why the diversion? State budget woes. However, local governments have not fared better. State aid and property taxes, which together account for more than half of local revenues, are dropping simultaneously for the first time since 1980.