This is a perfect example of how the media can make good news look bad …
Actually, there was a 228% prison population growth from 1980 to 1990. There was also a 40% prison population growth from 1990 to 2000.
However, what is not readily apparent is the fact that there was only a 4% per year growth during that 1990 period while there was a 22.8% per year growth of the prison population during the decade beginning in 1980.
If you broke down the period 1990 to 1994, before 3-Strikes, and 1995 to 2000 after 3-Strikes, it becomes quite clear that the big decreases in the prison population occurred after the passage of 3-Strikes and the phenominal increase occurred before 3-Strike’s passage during the previous decade!
Also noteworthy is the fact that the greatest reduction in homocide rates was among California’s African-American community (please see the CA State DOJ chart link below).