Record Set for Probation, Parole More Arrested, but Some Crimes Do Less Time
WASHINGTON -- The number of people on parole or probation reached a record 4.5 million in 1999, the Justice Department announced yesterday. The biggest increase is in probationers, reflecting a rise in drug arrests and a decline in the number of drug offenders sent to prison.
Twenty-four percent of the people on probation were convicted of drug offenses, and 18 percent were given probation for drunken driving.
"What we've seen is a 30 percent decline in the likelihood of going to prison for a drug arrest over the last decade," Justice Department statistician Allen J. Beck said. "So even though we've had an increase in drug arrests, the flow into prisons has stabilized."
More than 1 million of the nation's probationers and parolees were in Texas, with 556,410, and California, with 446,460. States with the largest percentages of their adult population under community supervision were Georgia, with 5.8 percent, and Idaho, with 4.2 percent.
The parolees and probationers are part of the burgeoning population that is under correctional supervision in the wake of a national movement to crack down on crime, Justice Department officials said. States have built prisons, toughened sentencing standards and increased options for community supervision.
Overall, the number of people under correctional supervision stands at an all-time high of 6.3 million, with 1.86 million men and women behind bars as of June 1999. The number has climbed every year for a decade. …