Wisconsin prisoner population dropped in 2020 amid pandemic

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The number of inmates in Wisconsin's prisons dropped dramatically last year to levels not seen in more than 20 years.

A new report Thursday from the Wisconsin Policy Forum found that weekly data from the state Department of Corrections shows the adult prison population declined nearly 16% from the end of February 2020 to the end of last month.

At 19,581 inmates, that's the lowest level since October 1999. The average daily jail population, meanwhile, dropped 35% from April 2019 to April 2020.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum attributed the declines to tactics designed to slow COVID-19, including Gov. Tony Evers' order to suspend new prison admissions, delays in trials and more electronic monitoring.

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