By XINJUAN DENG
Capital News Service
LANSING —- Michigan has its smallest prison population since 1997. “Prison populations have been dropping in the last five years,” said Russ Marlan, the public information officer at the Department of Corrections. Michigan prisons had 42,940 inmates at the end of December, compared to a peak of 51,554 in March 2007, according to a new department report. “It’s good news,” said David Moran, clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan. “As of 2008, the U.S. had the highest incarceration rate in the world.