From Yahoo! News
The number of prisoners in state penitentiaries has dropped for the first time since 1972, The AP reported. According to a report from the Pew Center on the States, the overall drop was slight, just 0.4 percent. Experts attribute the reduction in state prison populations to the financial crisis. Despite the slight decrease in state prisoners, the Pew report said the nation’s total prison population increased in 2009 because the number of inmates in federal prisons rose by 6,838 to an all-time high of 208,118. The report did not tally prisoners held in municipal and county jails.