Tennessee’s Prison Population Rises by 8% Despite Sharp Drop in Violent Crime

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Tennessee’s prison population grows as violent crime drops steeply

  • Tennessee’s prison population increased by nearly 8% in 2022, adding 1,615 more men and 125 more women to the state’s roster of prisoners.
  • By the end of 2022, there were 23,735 state inmates in Tennessee, not including the population in county jails.
  • The increase in prison population comes at a time when there were steep drops in the most serious crimes.
  • Criminal justice reform advocates expressed disappointment but weren’t surprised by the data.
  • Tennessee’s prison population grows as violent crime drops steeply

    After years of steady declines, Tennessee’s prison population climbed by nearly 8% last year, a bump in the rate of incarceration that surpassed all but three other states. Tennessee added 1,615 more men and 125 more women to its roster of state prisoners in 2022. By the end of 2022, there were 23,735 state inmates in Tennessee, not including the population in county jails, which hold individuals for misdemeanor offenses and those awaiting trial.

    Impact on Criminal Justice Reform Advocates

    Criminal justice reform advocates said they were disheartened but unsurprised by the data. “Everything that we said was going to come true has come true,” said Dawn Harrington, executive director of Free Hearts, a nonprofit that advocates for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.

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