2012 Corrections Reform Still Paying Off

Yesterday, Gov. Wolf and Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel announced that Pennsylvania’s prison population declined last year by the largest amount since 1971. The number of imates declined by 850 in 2015, beating the previous record of 756 in 2014, which we wrote about last year.

And this success isn’t just the result of releasing criminals from prison. We’ve also seen a reduction in the recidivism rate—that is, fewer individuals are coming back to prison after being released.

This success story stems in no small part from corrections reform passed by the General Assembly in 2012. The Commonwealth Foundation worked closely with a transpartisan coalition, which included the late Democratic Gov. George Leader's family, the ACLU, former Gov. Tom Corbett, Secretary Wetzel (now serving in his second administration), and many others.