Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

The Fiscal Case for Criminal Justice Reform

with one comment

The United States currently incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country in the world. We calculate that a reduction in incarceration rates just to the level we had in 1993 (which was already high by historical standards) would lower correctional expenditures by $16.9 billion per year, with the large majority of these savings accruing to financially squeezed state and local governments. As a group, state governments could save $7.6 billion, while local governments could save $7.2 billion.

These cost savings could be realized through a reduction by one-half in the incarceration rate of exclusively non-violent offenders, who now make up over 60 percent of the prison and jail population.

A review of the extensive research on incarceration and crime suggests that these savings could be achieved without any appreciable deterioration in public safety.

Center for Economic Policy and Research (h/t: Sentencing Law & Policy)


Written by sara

June 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

Posted in General News

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Public Safety can be enhanced by the establishment of careful and thoughtful processes that look at prison deportment, past histories, current offense reports and batteries of clinically based assessment which can drive release mechanisms for current non-violent offenders.

    States with the largest drops in prison populations over the past 10 years, NY and NJ for example, have had corresponding drops in their UCRs during the same time frames.

    NJ in particular has proven quite effective in not returning released parolees back to prison for technical parole violations,
    (not new crimes but violations resulting from negative compulsive behaviors), and having more parolees successfully complete their supervisory terms.
    There is proof that it is safe to keep offenders on the streets, but saving money has not occurred.
    The key to any such savings is actually having states reduce the expenditures of their correctional systems and pour some portion of those monies back into the zipcodes/neighborhoods from which these offender population originate from and return to,

    Several years back the then Commissioner of NJ DOC stated that NJ would save $44m if they closed just the one -Riverfront State Prison. The prison closed, the inmate population continued to drop, and the DOC budget actually increased.

    harry flashman

    August 21, 2010 at 6:24 am

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