## State Prisoners and Political PartiesL. David Roper(E-mail: roperld@vt.edu)

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(Go to data table at bottom.)

The state-prisoners rate (number of state prisoners per 1000) varies greatly among the states in the United States. (See table at end for 1996 rates.)

An interesting question to ask is: Is there any correlation between the state-prisoners rate and the strength of the two political parties in the states?

I compared different state's state-prisoners-rate (SPR) data for 1996 with the results of the 1996 presidential election for each state. (See table at end for votes in the 1996 election.) A correlation calculation yielded the following:

 Correlation Rate Democrat vote -0.065 Republican vote +0.219

That is, the Democratic votes for the states had a 7% negative correlation with increasing SPR and the Republican votes had a 22% positive correlation. States with high state-prisoners death rate vote much more Republican than Democratic and vice versa.

 This is a plot of the state-prisoners rate (SPR) sorted by rank of the states compared to the Democratic votes and the Republican votes. (See table at end for the data.) Also shown are linear fits to the two votes. This shows visually the slight positive correlation of SPR with the Republican vote and the negative correlation of SPR with the Democratic vote. Note that the four lowest SPR states are definitely Democratic and the highest two states are definitely Republican.

My Republican native state, Oklahoma (rate=0.583), ranked 46 of 50 and my Republican adopted state, Virginia (rate=0.402), ranked 33 of 50 for increasing state-prisoners rate in 1999.

 U.S. state prisoners 1996 1996 election State Prisoners Population Prisoners/1000 Democrat Republican Rank Minnesota 5158 4775508 0.108 51.1% 35.0% 1 Maine 1426 1253040 0.114 51.6% 30.8% 2 North Dakota 722 633666 0.114 40.1% 46.9% 3 West Virginia 2749 1806928 0.152 51.5% 36.8% 4 New Hampshire 2062 1201134 0.172 49.6% 39.6% 5 Utah 3972 2129836 0.186 33.3% 54.4% 6 Vermont 1119 593740 0.188 53.4% 31.1% 7 Massachusetts 11796 6175169 0.191 61.5% 28.1% 8 Nebraska 3287 1666028 0.197 35.0% 53.7% 9 Washington 12527 5756361 0.218 49.8% 37.3% 10 Iowa 6342 2869413 0.221 50.3% 39.9% 11 Wisconsin 12991 5250446 0.247 48.8% 38.5% 12 Montana 2293 882779 0.260 41.3% 44.1% 13 Oregon 8661 3316154 0.261 47.2% 39.1% 14 New Mexico 4724 1739844 0.272 49.2% 41.9% 15 South Dakota 2063 733133 0.281 43.0% 46.5% 16 Tennessee 15626 5483535 0.285 48.0% 45.6% 17 Indiana 16960 5942901 0.285 41.6% 47.1% 18 Pennsylvania 34537 11994016 0.288 49.2% 40.0% 19 Kansas 7756 2654052 0.292 36.1% 54.3% 20 Idaho 3832 1251700 0.306 33.6% 52.2% 21 Colorado 12438 4056133 0.307 44.4% 45.8% 22 Wyoming 1499 479602 0.313 36.8% 49.8% 23 Illinois 38852 12128370 0.320 54.3% 36.8% 24 Kentucky 12910 3960825 0.326 45.8% 44.9% 25 Rhode Island 3271 990819 0.330 59.7% 26.8% 26 New Jersey 27490 8143412 0.338 53.7% 35.9% 27 Hawaii 4011 1185497 0.338 56.9% 31.6% 28 Arkansas 9407 2551373 0.369 53.7% 36.8% 29 New York 69709 18196601 0.383 58.3% 30.0% 30 North Carolina 30647 7650789 0.401 44.0% 48.7% 31 Missouri 22003 5468338 0.402 47.5% 41.2% 32 Virginia 27655 6872912 0.402 45.1% 47.1% 33 Ohio 46174 11256654 0.410 47.4% 41.0% 34 Florida 63763 15111244 0.422 48.0% 42.3% 35 Maryland 22050 5171634 0.426 54.3% 38.3% 36 Michigan 42349 9863775 0.429 51.7% 38.5% 37 California 146049 33145121 0.441 51.1% 38.2% 38 Georgia 35139 7788240 0.451 45.8% 47.0% 39 Connecticut 15007 3282031 0.457 52.8% 34.7% 40 Nevada 8439 1809253 0.466 43.9% 42.9% 41 Arizona 22493 4778332 0.471 46.5% 44.3% 42 Alabama 21760 4369862 0.498 43.2% 50.1% 43 Mississippi 13859 2768619 0.501 44.1% 49.2% 44 South Carolina 20446 3885736 0.526 44.0% 49.8% 45 Oklahoma 19593 3358044 0.583 40.4% 48.3% 46 Alaska 3716 619500 0.600 33.3% 50.8% 47 Louisiana 26779 4372035 0.613 52.0% 39.9% 48 Texas 132383 20044141 0.660 43.8% 48.8% 49 Delaware 5110 753538 0.678 51.8% 36.6% 50