Nearly 40 years after tough new drug laws led to an explosion in prison rolls, New York State has dramatically reversed course, chalking up a 62-percent drop in people serving time for drug crimes today compared with 2000. Experts say that the steep decline was driven by shifting attitudes towards drug offenders and lower crime. Overall, the prison population declined 22 percent.
The database below shows the number of inmates sentenced by county, based on the inmate population on one day each in February 2000 and March 2011. It also shows the number of inmates whose top crime of sentencing was a drug crime.
Source: Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of state prison databases, provided by New York State Department of Corrections and Community Service.