Maine does not live up to its scary reputation crafted by various Stephen King horror novels. It enjoys the lowest violent crime rate in the nation. Naturally, this also means that Maine owns the nation’s lowest incarceration rate.
A bulletin released by the U.S. Department of Justice reported that Maine
incarcerated 3,800 state and county prisoners in 2013. This amounted to a rate of 350 people per 100,000 residents behind bars for the state. These numbers fall well below the nationwide average of 830 prisoners per 100,000 citizens.
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Low Crime Rates
One reason why Maine locks up much fewer criminals behind bars is that the state has a smaller pool of criminals to prosecute. This part of New England has built up a reputation as a safe and peaceful place to live. It all starts with low crime rates across the board.
Maine’s overall crime rate for 2013 was about 21 percent lower than the national average according to the Maine Statistical Analysis Center
. Property crimes account for about 95 percent of all crimes in Maine. These crimes are committed at a rate about 15 percent lower than the national rate. The remaining 5 percent are violent crimes. Maine’s violent crime rate is about 63 percent lower than all other states.
The state prison population in Maine has remained at static levels after reaching 150 people per 100,000 residents in 2002, following a spike in incarceration rates over the previous decade. It hovered around that same rate during the next 10 years, according to a state profile created by the Prison Policy Initiative
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Like in other states, resident minorities in Maine serve time behind bars at much higher rates than the white population. The Prison Policy Initiative reported that, in 2010, blacks were incarcerated at a rate of 1,553 people per 100,000 black residents. American Indians were incarcerated at a rate of 747 per 100,000 and Hispanics were incarcerated at a rate of 407 per 100,000. Whites were incarcerated at a rate of 259 people per 100,000 residents.
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