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Stemming Prison Population Growth in North Dakota

By July 4, 2017 No Comments

Lawmakers and criminal justice system officials in North Dakota are making efforts to keep the state’s prison population from growing even further, reports the Bismarck Tribune. “Faced with growing inmate populations — North Dakota’s prison population grew by 32 percent between 2005 and 2015 — officials said they hope to shift more focus to behavioral health treatment and away from the expensive prospect of expanding jail capacity.” The director of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Leann Bertsch, says, “Locking more people up really doesn’t make the state safer,” and calls it a “good first step” that there is now $7 million in her department’s budget for a “community behavioral health program.” One example of the recent changes in North Dakota law is the “provision reducing the penalty for first-time drug possession charges from a Class C felony to a Class A misdemeanor.”