NYC Incarceration Rate Down Despite Record Arrests

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With Michael Bloomberg as mayor, New York City has managed to lower the number of people in jail, while also making more arrests. "New York's crime rate has gone down more quickly and more steeply than the rest of the country, and we are the model for low crime in this nation," Bloomberg bragged yesterday. "But unlike the rest of the country, the number of people we are incarcerating has also gone down." Over the last decade, the national incarceration rate is up 5 percent, while locally it's down 32 percent. Arrests, meanwhile, have jumped 23 percent.

DNAinfo reports that while there were 338,788 arrests in 2002, the year Bloomberg took office, there were 413,573 last year, down from a peak of 422,982 the year prior. Partly to blame is the 600 percent rise in stop-and-frisks over the same period, along with a huge number of arrests for low-level crimes like marijuana possession. In 2011, fewer than 40,000 of the 413,000 arrests were for one of the seven major crimes.

"Day after day, people are stuffed into our holding cells for days at a time and then go to court and the prosecutors or judges look at the case and say it is not worth pursuing," a court source told DNAinfo, lamenting a clogged system. "There are thousands of cases that would not be here if the cops could use their own judgment like they used to in the past."