TRENTON -- A new federal Justice Department study shows New Jersey's prison population declined by about 5 percent from 2014 to 2015.

The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics published the report on Thursday.

The data shows that New Jersey's prison population went from 21,590 in 2014 to 20,489 in 2015, or a drop of 5.1 percent.

Only five others states, Alaska, Indiana, Massachusetts, Utah and Vermont saw larger declines. Nationally, the drop in state prisons was 1.6 percent and 6.7 percent in federal prisons.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics sponsored the study, which goes back to the congressionally mandated National Prisons Statistics program. Congress authorized the program in 1926 to collects data at the end of the year.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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