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Crime Rate Drops Dramatically, But Prison Population Remains High

May 24 2017, by Sean Hessler in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog

America has become known as a country of mass incarceration. While the U.S. is approximately 5 percent of the world’s population, we hold close to 25 percent of the world’s prison population. To look at it a little differently: the U.S. has an imprisonment rate of 716 per 100,000 people. More than half of the countries published on the World Prison Population List have rates below 150 per 100,000. When comparing the U.S. to only European countries, which may have more similar criminal justice and imprisonment systems, the median European imprisonment rate is 133.5 per 100,000 people – still far below America. The truth is that our country, including here in Indiana, heavily relies on imprisonment as punishment and rehabilitation.

When individuals face the criminal justice system, they must have experienced legal representation who can advocate on their behalf and fight for them not to become just another figure within the prison population. At Hessler Law, PC, we understand that there are better ways to fight crime and have offenders pay their debt to society. That is why we strive for our clients to go through community-based diversion programs whenever possible.

Call us today at (317) 886-8800 if you have been charged with a crime. We can help.

Prison Populations Remain High While Crime Decreases

What is more startling about the high U.S. imprisonment rate is that it does not correspond to crime rates. America’s crime rate has gone down over the past few decades. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found violent crime has sharply dropped since it peaked in the early 1990s. Between 1993 and 2015, the FBI found crime decreased 50 percent. The BJS found it fell 77 percent during that time. Property crimes also went down. The FBI found it declined 48 percent and the BJS reported it fell 69 percent between 1993 and 2015.

While there are significant regional differences in violent and property crime rates, it is clear that America has actually become safer in recent years. Yet despite a decrease in crime, the U.S. continues to imprison individuals at an alarming rate, and Indiana is no different.

Indiana’s Prison Rate

For years, Indiana’s prison population continuously increased. From 1980 to 2009, it rose from 6,281 individuals to 28,788 people. It was only after 2009 that Indiana’s prison population started to go down. A brief reduction in 2010, saw increases until 2013. However, as of 2015, there were 27,334 individuals imprisoned in the state, demonstrating a small overall decrease over the previous six years. The rate of imprisonment was 412 per 100,000 in 2015.

Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help

Once defendants understand the criminal justice system looks to automatically imprison individuals convicted of crimes, they may fully appreciate the necessity of an experienced criminal defense lawyer by their side. Avoiding spending time in prison or fighting for the minimum sentence takes a great deal of time and effort. A skilled attorney knows how to present the facts of the case in the best light for the defendant and how to argue they deserve leniency. Without these efforts, a judge has no reason to consider alternatives or moderation in sentencing.

A lawyer is also more likely to be aware of other options than incarceration, such as community-based diversion programs, probation, community service, and rehabilitation. A judge may not initially be open to an alternative punishment, yet may change than their mind upon hearing the lawyer’s argument for it.

To learn more about how we can help if you face the possibility of imprisonment in Indiana, contact Hessler Law, PC at (317) 886-8800.