Missouri inmate population rises, federal numbers fall

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COLUMBIA - After three consecutive years of decline, the United State's prison inmate population increased slightly last year, according to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. 

The Justice Department reports the nationwide inmate population increased by nearly 4,300 people, from 1,570,397 in 2012 to 1,574,741 in 2013. The overall increase reflects an increase at state prisons nationwide. However, the increased population remains below the national record-high in 2009 of 1,615,487.

The number of prisoners in Missouri penitentiaries also increased in 2013 by 290 inmates, raising Missouri's incarcerated population to 31,537. 

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, state taxpayers shell out more than $18 a day on inmates. When totaled, taxpayers spend more than half a million dollars a day on the inmate population, or $207 million a year.

In comparison to the other 49 states, Missouri ranks 18th in total inmate population, with both the male and female populations rising. Texas incarcerates more people than any other state, with a current population north of 168,000. In contrast, North Dakota's inmate population is the lowest in America, with slightly more than 1,500 people in prison. 

The Missouri Department of Corrections refused to comment for this story. The department did send KOMU 8 News links to its annual report and offender profile.