Prison and The Economy

The economic drivers and consequences of mass incarceration

  • Criminal Background Checks and Access to Jobs: A Case Study of Washington, DC, [PDF]
    Urban Institute, June, 2017
    “Examining local regulations and DC’s labor market reveals that justice-involved people—whether formerly incarcerated or not—face significant challenges finding work in in the city.”
  • Back to Business: How Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Job Seekers Benefits Your Company, [PDF]
    The Trone Private Sector and Education Advisory Council to the American Civil Liberties Union, June, 2017
    “Research by economists confirms that hiring people with records is simply smart business. Researchers have found that “employees with a criminal background are in fact a better pool for employers.””
  • Using Time to Reduce Crime: Federal Prisoner Survey Results Show Ways to Reduce Recidivism, [PDF]
    Families Against Mandatory Minimums, May, 2017
    “An estimated 45 percent of federal prisoners have mental health and behavioral problems...Two-thirds of prisoners who responded to our survey said they had not received mental or behavioral health counseling while in federal prison.”
  • Getting Tough on Spending: An Examination of Correctional Expenditure in Massachusetts, [PDF]
    MassINC and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, May, 2017
    “DOC [Department of Corrections] and county facilities combined, the state budget allocation per inmate rose 34 percent between FY 2011 and FY 2016. Over this period, education aid per student increased by only 11 percent.”
  • The Price of Prisons: Examining State Spending Trends, 2010-2015, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, May, 2017
    “Since 2010, 23 states have reduced the size of their prison populations. Vera’s research found that 13 of these states have saved considerably in taxpayer money — $1.6 billion — at the same time.”
  • Selling Off Our Freedom: How insurance corporations have taken over our bail system, [PDF]
    Color of Change and the American Civil Liberties Union, May, 2017
    “Fewer than 10 insurance companies are behind a significant majority of bonds issued by as many as 25,000 bail bond agents.”
  • The Price of Prisons: Examining State Spending Trends, 2010-2015, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, May, 2017
    “Since 2010, 23 states have reduced the size of their prison populations. Vera’s research found that 13 of these states have saved considerably in taxpayer money — $1.6 billion — at the same time.”
  • Following the Money of Mass Incarceration [Website]
    Prison Policy Initiative, January, 2017
    “In this first-of-its-kind report, we find that the system of mass incarceration costs the government and families of justice-involved people at least $182 billion every year.”
  • A Wealth of Inequalities: Mass Incarceration, Employment, and Racial Disparities in U.S. Household Wealth, 1996 to 2011, [PDF]
    Bryan L. Sykes, University of Washington and Michelle Maroto, University of Alberta, October, 2016
    “[A] non-Hispanic white household with an institutionalized member would actually hold more in assets than an otherwise similar black or Hispanic household without an institutionalized member.”
  • The Economic Burden of Incarceration in the U.S.
    Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation, October, 2016
    “This study estimates the annual economic burden of incarceration in the United States [by including] important social aggregate burden of one trillion dollars.”
  • Responsible Prison Project: Reshaping The Texas Prison System for Greater Public Safety, [Website]
    Aaron Flaherty, David Graham, Michael Smith, William D Jones, and Vondre Cash, October, 2016
    “It has often been said that those who are closest to a problem are closest to its solution. That is no less true for those who are in prison.”
  • Evaluation of Strategies to Reduce Louisiana's Incarceration Rate and Costs for Nonviolent Offenders,
    Louisiana Legislative Auditor, August, 2016
    “[T]he purpose of this report was to evaluate potential strategies to reduce incarceration rates and costs for nonviolent offenders in Louisiana.”
  • Community Cages: Profitizing community corrections and alternatives to incarceration,
    American Friends Service Committee, August, 2016
    “The profitization of community corrections poses a serious threat to the movement to end mass incarceration.”
  • Detaining the Poor: How money bail perpetuates an endless cycle of poverty and jail time,
    Prison Policy Initiative, May, 2016
    “A majority of people unable to meet bail fall within the poorest third of the national income distribution.”
  • Get To Work or Go To Jail: Workplace Rights Under Threat,
    UCLA Labor Center, April, 2016
    “The work-or-jail threat adds the weight of the criminal justice system to employers’ power, and turns the lack of good jobs into the basis for further policing, prosecution, and incarceration.”
  • Unlicensed & Untapped: Removing Barriers to State Occupational Licenses for People with Records,
    National Employment Law Project, April, 2016
    “[H]aving a conviction record, particularly for people of color, is a major barrier to participation in the labor market.”
  • Economic Perspectives on Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System
    White House Council of Economic Advisers, April, 2016
    “[E]conomics can provide a valuable lens for evaluating the costs and benefits of criminal justice policy.”
  • A National Picture of Prison Downsizing Strategies
    The RAND Corporation, February, 2016
    “After decades of unprecedented correctional expenditures and prison population growth, many states faced fiscal pressures on their corrections budgets as the country entered a deep recession in 2008.”
  • You've Got Mail: The promise of cyber communication in prisons and the need for regulation,
    Prison Policy Initiative, January, 2016
    (There are many benefits to electronic messaging in correctional facilities, but our analysis finds that the technology is primed to be just another opportunity for for-profit companies to exploit families and subvert regulations of phone calls.)
  • Locked Up & Shipped Away: Interstate Prisoner Transfers and the Private Prison Industry Winter 2016 Update, [PDF]
    Grassroots Leadership, January, 2016
    (Since the 2013 release of Locked Up and Shipped Away, the same four states (Vermont, California, Idaho, and Hawaii) continue to house a portion of their prisoners in private prisons out of state. And, a fifth state, Arkansas has also opted to do so.)
  • Prison Price Tag: The High Cost of Wisconsin's Corrections Policies,
    Wisconsin Budget Project, November, 2015
    “Wisconsin state and local governments spend about $1.5 billion on corrections each year, significantly more than the national average given the size of our state.”
  • Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,
    Institute for Justice, November, 2015
    “In 1986, the Department of Justice’s Assets Forfeiture Fund took in $93.7 million in revenue from federal forfeitures. By 2014, annual deposits had reached $4.5 billion--a 4,667 percent increase.”
  • Corrections Spending Through the State Budget Since 2007-08: Still High Despite Recent Reforms,
    California Budget & Policy Center, November, 2015
    (While total corrections spending as a share of the state budget is down slightly since 2007-08, spending for adults under state jurisdiction remains stubbornly high.)
  • In Jail & In Debt: Ohio's Pay-to-Stay Fees,
    ACLU of Ohio, November, 2015
    (Ohioans are getting billed up to $66.09 a day to be in jail.)
  • Proposition 47 Progress Report: Year One Implementation, [PDF]
    Stanford Law School Stanford Justice Advocacy Project, October, 2015
    “Since the enactment of Proposition 47 on November 14, 2014, the number of people incarcerated in California’s prisons and jails has decreased by approximately 13,000 inmates, helping alleviate crowding conditions in those institutions.”
  • Debtors' Prisons in New Hampshire
    ACLU of New Hampshire, September, 2015
    (In 2013 New Hampshire judges jailed people who were unable to pay fines and without conducting a meaningful ability-to-pay hearing in an estimated 148 cases.)
  • Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families, [PDF]
    Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; Forward Together; Research Action Design, September, 2015
    “Forty-eight percent of families in our survey overall were unable to afford the costs associated with a conviction, while among poor families (making less than $15,000 per year), 58% were unable to afford these costs.”
  • Louisiana's Debtors Prisons: An Appeal to Justice, [PDF]
    ACLU of Louisiana, August, 2015
    “The ACLU of Louisiana (“ACLU”) investigated the imposition and collection of fines, fees and court costs or other legal financial obligations (LFOs) in twelve parishes and two cities from across Louisiana.”
  • Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration [PDF]
    Brennan Center for Justice, May, 2015
    “Every aspect of the criminal justice process has become ripe for charging a fee. In fact, an estimated 10 million people owe more than $50 billion in debt resulting from their involvement in the criminal justice system.”
  • The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, May, 2015
    “But as high as $22.2 billion sounds, it actually underestimates the price of jails, because other government agencies bear a large share of jail costs that are not reflected in jail budgets.”
  • Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture in California,
    Drug Policy Alliance, April, 2015
    (Asset forfeiture abuses in California reveal the troubling extent to which law enforcement agencies have violated state and federal law.)
  • Corrections Infrastructure Spending in California
    Public Policy Institute of California, March, 2015
    “At the end of 2005, CDCR operated 33 prisons with a statewide design capacity of more than 80,000 beds.”
  • Corrections Statistics by State [Website]
    National Institute of Corrections, February, 2015
    “This unique compilation of data provides a visual representation of key statistics for each state as well as a comparison of each state in relation to other states.”
  • Justice Expenditure And Employment Extracts, 2012
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, February, 2015
    (This series includes estimates of government expenditures and employment at the national, federal, state, and local levels for the following justice categories: police protection, all judicial and legal functions, and corrections.)
  • The Right Investment?: Corrections Spending in Baltimore City
    Justice Policy Institute; Prison Policy Initiative, February, 2015
    “Maryland taxpayers spend $288 million a year to incarcerate people from Baltimore City.”
  • Department of Corrections Colorado Correctional Industries Performance Audit, [PDF]
    Colorado Office of the State Auditor, January, 2015
    “Although statute requires CCI to operate in a profit-oriented manner, CCI’s industries operations earned profit margins on average of less than 1 percent from Fiscal Years 2009 through 2014.”
  • Public Research Universities: Changes in State Funding,
    American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2015
    “In general, state spending on corrections has grown much faster than education spending over the last three decades. In eleven states, corrections has now surpassed higher education as a percentage of funding.”
  • The Rise in State Prison Populations
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December, 2014
    “Most states’ prison populations are at historic highs after decades of extraordinary growth. This growth has been costly, limiting economic opportunity for communities with especially high incarceration rates.”
  • Defunding State Prisons [PDF]
    Santa Clara University School of Law, December, 2014
    “States would, instead, reallocate money spent on prisons to localities to use as they see fit--on enforcement, treatment, or even per-capita prison usage.”
  • One Strike and You're Out: How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records, [PDF]
    Center for American Progress, December, 2014
    “Estimates put the cost of employment losses among people with criminal records at as much as $65 billion per year in terms of gross domestic product.”
  • Justice Reinvestment in North Carolina: Three Years Later, [PDF]
    The Council of State Governments Justice Center, November, 2014
    “A total of 10 prisons closed as a result and the state is using some of the savings generated to focus on improving supervision practices by adding 175 probation and parole officers and investing in cognitive interventions and substance use treatment.”
  • Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education, [PDF]
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October, 2014
    “Corrections spending is now the third-largest category of spending in most states, behind education and health care.”
  • Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, 2014
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, August, 2014
    “In total, approximately $290.9 million was allocated for the FY 2014 JAG awards.”
  • Indigent Defense Services In The United States, FY 2008-2012 - Updated
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, July, 2014
    “It provides both direct and intergovernmental indigent defense expenditures of state governments for fiscal years 2008 through 2012, and presents some local government expenditures aggregated at the state level.”
  • Justice Expenditure And Employment Extracts, 2009 Final, [Website]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, July, 2014
    “This series includes national, federal, and state-level estimates of government expenditures and employment for the following justice categories: police protection, all judicial and legal functions... and corrections.”
  • Justice Expenditure And Employment Extracts, 2010 Final, [Website]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, July, 2014
    “This series includes national, federal, and state-level estimates of government expenditures and employment for the following justice categories: police protection, all judicial and legal functions... and corrections.”
  • State Government Indigent Defense Expenditures, FY 2008-2012 - Updated
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, July, 2014
    “In 2012, state governments spent $2.3 billion nationally on indigent defense.”
  • Justice Expenditure And Employment Extracts, 2011 - Preliminary
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, July, 2014
    “This series includes national, federal, and state-level estimates of government expenditures and employment for the following justice categories: police protection, all judicial and legal functions (including prosecution, courts, and public defense), and”
  • A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime, [PDF]
    The Hamilton Project, May, 2014
    “What alternative policy options could we pursue in conjunction with scaling back incarceration rates that would reduce the social costs of incarceration while controlling crime?”
  • Justice Reinvestment Initiative State Assessment Report [PDF]
    Urban Institute, January, 2014
    “Since enacting JRI, all eight states - Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina - have experienced reductions in their prison populations since the start of JRI.”
  • Follow the Money: How California Counties Are Spending Their Public Safety Realignment Funds, [PDF]
    Stanford Criminal Justice Center, January, 2014
    “Sheriff and Law Enforcement spending is generally a product of local needs (crime conditions and dedication to law enforcement) and preference for punishment. Programs and Services spending fundamentally revolves around electoral confidence in the Sheriff”
  • The Burden of Criminal Justice Debt in Alabama: 2014 Participant Self-Report Survey, [PDF]
    UAB TASC Jefferson County's Community Corrections Program, 2014
    “The purpose of this study was to evaluate the success of this approach and the impact of these policies in Alabama. With the general knowledge that increased court costs have not produced projected revenue, we sought to understand why.”
  • Local Government Corrections Expenditures, FY 2005-2011 [PDF]
    U.S. Department of Justice, December, 2013
    “Local governments spent 1.6% of total expenditures on corrections.”
  • Funding Public Safety Realignment [PDF]
    Public Policy Institute of California, November, 2013
    “Achieving lower rates of recidivism is a key goal for the state because the share of individuals returning to crime has a direct bearing on the state's ability to reduce prison crowding.”
  • Reforming Funding to Reduce Mass Incarceration [PDF]
    Brennan Center for Justice, November, 2013
    “More than 68 million Americans - a quarter of the nation's population - have criminal records.”
  • The Impact of Federal Budget Cuts from FY10-FY13 on State and Local Public Safety, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, November, 2013
    “Overall funding for Department of Justice grant programs has dropped by 43 percent since FY10.”
  • Managing Prison Health Care Spending [PDF]
    The Pew Charitable Trust, The MacArthur Foundation, October, 2013
    “Pew found that prison health care spending in these 44 states totaled $6.5 billion in 2008, out of $36.8 billion in overall institutional correctional expenditures.”
  • Criminals and Campaign Cash The Impact of Judicial Campaign Spending on Criminal Defendants, [PDF]
    Center for American Progress, October, 2013
    “As Illinois voters were bombarded with attack ads featuring violent criminals, the high court ruled in favor of the prosecution in 69 percent of its criminal cases—an 18 percent increase over the previous year.”
  • Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and, [PDF]
    In the Public Interest, September, 2013
    “Essentially, the state would have to guarantee that its prison would be 90 percent filled for the next 20 years (a quota), or pay the company for unused prison beds if the number of inmates dipped below 90 percent capacity at any point...”
  • State Spending for Corrections: Long-Term Trends and Recent Criminal Justice Policy Reforms, [PDF]
    National Association of State Budget Officers, September, 2013
    “State spending for corrections reached $52.4 billion in fiscal 2012 and has been higher than 7.0 percent of overall general fund expenditures every year since fiscal 2008.”
  • Realigning the Revolving Door: An Analysis of California Counties' AB 109 2011-2012 Implementation Plans, [PDF]
    Stanford Law School Criminal Justice Center, September, 2013
    “Sheriff's departments were allocated the largest amount of funding at $125,655,502, or 34.9 percent of all expenditure.”
  • Treatment of the Highest-risk Offenders Can Avoid Costs [PDF]
    Oregon Secretary of State, August, 2013
    “Oregon taxpayers and victims could have avoided about $21.6 million in costs if substance abuse treatment had been provided to all of the highest-risk offenders.”
  • The Effect of Immigration Detainers in a Post-Realignment California [PDF]
    CJCJ, August, 2013
    “89 percent of said non-criminal ICE detentions in California are in local jails and facilities. These detentions cost taxpayers approximately $16.3 million for local jail holds during the 30-month period studied”
  • Please Deposit All of Your Money: Kickbacks, Rates, and Hidden Fees in the Jail Phone Industry, [PDF]
    Prison Policy Initiative, May, 2013
    “This report is the first to address in depth the many fees prison phone customers must pay. Fees have an enormous impact on prison phone bills, making up 38% of the $1 billion annual price of calling home.”
  • Wisconsin's Mass Incarceration of African American Males: Workforce Challenges for 2013, [PDF]
    Employment and Training Institute, University of Wisconsin, April, 2013
    “From 1990 to 2011 Wisconsin incarcerated 26,222 African American men from Milwaukee County in state correctional facilities. As of January 2012, 20,591 men had been released back into the community and 5,631 were still imprisoned.”
  • The Outskirts of Hope: How Ohio's Debtors' Prisons Are Ruining Lives and Costing Communities, [PDF]
    ACLU of Ohio, April, 2013
    “In the second half of 2012, over 20% of all bookings in the Huron County Jail were related to failure to pay fines. Between July 15 and August 31, 2012 at least 45 people in Cuyahoga County and 57 in Erie County were jailed for failure to pay,”
  • Crime, Cost, and Consequences: Is it Time to Get Smart on Crime?, [PDF]
    MassInc, Community Resources for Justice, March, 2013
    “If Massachusetts continues on the current course, the analysis contained in this report suggests the state will spend more than $2 billion over the next decade on corrections policies that produce limited public safety benefit.”
  • Rationing Justice: The Underfunding of Assigned Counsel Systems -- A 50-State Survey of Trial Court Assigned Counsel Rates, [PDF]
    National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, March, 2013
    “A combination of low hourly rates, fee limitations and the use of flat fees discourages attorneys from providing zealous representation and can give rise to serious conflicts of interest.”
  • Policing and the Economic Downturn Striving for Efficiency Is the New Norm, [PDF]
    Police Executive Research Forum, February, 2013
    “In 2010, 58% of responding agencies said that police services in their community had already declined or would decline with the implementation of recent or planned budget cuts. In 2012 that figure dropped to 44%.”
  • The War on Drugs: Wasting billions and undermining economies, [PDF]
    Count the Costs, February, 2013
    “Total expenditure on drug law enforcement by the US has been estimated at over $1 trillion during the last 40 years.”
  • Wrong Way for Texas The Driver Responsibility Program: A Texas-Sized Failure, [PDF]
    Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, February, 2013
    “Surcharges levied under the DRP are significantly higher for DWI offenses than those assessed for other traffic offenses. Over the past decade, Texas' rate for alcohol-impaired fatalities has increased compared to other states.”
  • The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues, and Options, [PDF]
    Congressional Research Service, January, 2013
    “The per capita cost of incarceration for all inmates increased from $19,571 in FY2000 to $26,094 in FY2011. During this same period of time, appropriations for the BOP increased from $3.668 billion to $6.381 billion.”
  • Effective Approaches to Drug Crimes In Texas: Strategies to Reduce Crime, Save Money, and Treat Addiction, [PDF]
    Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, January, 2013
    “Specifically, policy-makers must support the efforts of practitioners who are seeking to effectively treat those with substance abuse by improving and making more widely available community-based rehabilitation and treatment diversion alternatives.”
  • State Expenditure Report Examining Fiscal 2011-2013 State Spending, [PDF]
    National Association of State Budget Officers, 2013
    “Total corrections spending increased by 3.3 percent in fiscal 2012 and is estimated to have declined slightly by 0.3 percent in fiscal 2013.”
  • Report to the Governor and Legislative Budget Board on the Monitoring of Community Supervision Diversion Funds, [PDF]
    Texas Department of Criminal Justice, December, 2012
    “The felony direct community supervision population increased 5.2% from August 31, 2005 (157,914 offenders) to August 31, 2012 (166,054 offenders), while the number of felony technical revocations decreased 10.9% between FY2005 (13,504) & FY2012 (12,034).”
  • On the Chopping Block 2012: State Prison Closings, [PDF]
    Sentencing Project, December, 2012
    “In 2012, at least six states have closed 20 prison institutions or are contemplating doing so, potentially reducing prison capacity by over 14,100 beds and resulting in an estimated $337 million in savings.”
  • State Corrections Expenditures, FY 1982-2010 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, December, 2012
    “Between 1982 and 2001, total state corrections expenditures increased each year, rising from $15.0 billion to $53.5 billion in real dollars.”
  • Performance Incentive Funding Aligning Fiscal and Operational Responsibility to Produce More Safety at Less Cost, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, November, 2012
    “Community corrections agencies should adopt evidence-based practices that are proven to reduce recidivism and achieve successful offender outcomes. States should return some of the state savings to local agencies when those practices reduce recidivism.”
  • Boxed In The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York's Prisons, [PDF]
    New York Civil Liberties Union, September, 2012
    “New York has nearly 5,000 SHU beds located in 39 prisons, including two dedicated extreme isolation prisons which cost about $76 million a year. From 2007-11, New York issued more than 68,100 sentences to extreme isolation for violations of prison rules.”
  • The Price to Call Home State-Sanctioned Monopolization in the Prison Phone Industry, [PDF]
    Prison Policy Initiative, September, 2012
    “The prison telephone market is structured to be exploitative because it grants monopolies to producers, and because the consumers- the incarcerated persons and their families- have no comparable alternative ways of communicating.”
  • Realigning Justice Resources A Review of Population and SPending Shifts in Prison and Community Corrections, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, September, 2012
    “Between 2009 and 2010, Vera observed a stark downward shift in expenditures across many states and systems of prison and community corrections despite variations in population change—a consequence, perhaps, of shrinking state budgets.”
  • At America's Expense The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly, [PDF]
    ACLU, June, 2012
    “Based on statistical analyses of available data, this report estimates that releasing an aging prisoner will save states, on average, $66,294 per year per prisoner, including healthcare, other public benefits, parole, and any housing costs or tax revenue.”
  • Trends in Juvenile Justice State Legislation 2001-2011 [PDF]
    National Conference of State Legislatures, June, 2012
    “States are reevaluating their juvenile justice systems [to] produce better results for kids at lower cost. This has contributed to a state legislative trend to realign fiscal resources from state institutions toward more effective community-based services”
  • Justice Reinvestment in Pennsylvania A Comprehensive Public Safety Plan for the Commonwealth, [PDF]
    Council of State Governments Justice Center, May, 2012
    (Comprehensive public safety plan that reduces costly inefficiencies in PA's criminal justice system and reinvests savings in law enforcement strategies that deter crime, local diversion efforts that reduce recidivism & services for crime victims.)
  • A Juvenile Justice Reprieve: California's 2012 Mid-Year Budget, [PDF]
    Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, May, 2012
    “Counties cannot continue to oppose both budget triggers which attempt to more realistically balance DJF fees, and juvenile justice realignment, which transitions away from an archaic and dysfunctional state system to build on county successes.”
  • Squeeze Play The history of canteen prices and inmate pay, [PDF]
    The Prison Mirror, May, 2012
    “Not since 1960s have Minnesota Inmates been paid so little compared to outside wages. This makes it hard to afford canteen, which ultimately limits the money that could be flowing into programs that ultimately make Minnesota safer.”
  • The Costs and Benefits of Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment in the District of Columbia, [PDF]
    Urban Institute, April, 2012
    “On average, we find there is a 55 percent chance that a community-based substance abuse treatment (CBSAT) program serving 150 people would yield benefits that exceed its costs. The median benefit of CBSAT is $615 per person higher than its costs.”
  • Reallocating Justice Resources A Review of 2011 State Sentencing Trends, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, March, 2012
    “Early in the current recession, many states focused only on achieving quick cost savings. Now state lawmakers are considering multiple, related policy changes that will have long-term fiscal impacts.”
  • Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, 2011 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, March, 2012
    “The total 2011 allocation for the JAG funding was approximately $368.3 million, of which $359.4 million went to states and $8.9 million to territories and the District of Columbia.”
  • The Price of Prisons What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers, [PDF]
    Vera Institute, January, 2012
    “[T]he total taxpayer cost of prisons in the 40 states that participated in this study was 13.9 percent higher than the cost reflected in those states' combined corrections budgets. The total price to taxpayers was $38.8 billion...”
  • Improving Budget Analysis of State Criminal Justice Reforms A Strategy for Better Outcomes and Saving Money, [PDF]
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the American Civil Liberties UNion, January, 2012
    “States did not write fiscal notes for about 40 percent of the bills. Two states, Delaware and Hawaii, never write fiscal notes for criminal justice bills. Others, including South Dakota and Vermont, rarely write them.”
  • State Expenditure Report Examining Fiscal 2010-2012 State Spending, [PDF]
    National Association of State Budget Officers, 2012
    “Corrections accounted for 3.1 percent of total state expenditures in fiscal 2011 and 7.5 percent of general funds.”
  • Correctional Spending Trends Budget Information Report, [PDF]
    Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office, September, 2011
    “The Department of Correction's budget is one of the largest commitments of resources in the state budget representing roughly 9.1% of the combined General Fund and Lottery Funds in the 2011-13 legislatively adopted budget.”
  • Crisis in the Courts Defining the Problem, [PDF]
    American Bar Association, August, 2011
    “[T]he Legal Services Corportation Budget for FY2011 was reduced an additional 3.8% half way through that budget cycle, even as the number of Americans eligible for civil legal aid was pushed by the Recession to an all-time high of 57 Million.”
  • System Overload The Costs of Under-Resourcing Public Defense, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, July, 2011
    “In state-based public defender offices, 15 of the 19 reporting state programs exceeded the maximum recommended limit of felony or misdemeanor cases per attorney.”
  • Sentencing Reform Amid Mass Incarceration - Guarded Optimism, [PDF]
    Sentencing Project, May, 2011
    “A number of state have scaled back mandatory sentencing policies...”
  • Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program 2010 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, April, 2011
    “The five states eligible to receive the largest total state allocation included California ($51.1 million), Texas ($34.0 million), Florida ($30.9 million), New York ($24.8 million), and Illinois ($18.9 million).”
  • FY 2010 Operating Per Capita Cost Report Cost Identification and Comparison of State and Private Contract Beds, [PDF]
    “An inmate health care cost factor is identified and deducted due to the limitations imposed by the private contractors [...][because] unlike the private contractors, the ADC is required to provide medical and mental health services to inmates [...].”
  • A Billion Dollars and Growing: Why Prison Bonding is Tougher on Florida's Taxpayers Than on Crime, [PDF]
    Collins Center for Public Policy; Florida TaxWatch, April, 2011
    “Little known and not well understood by taxpayers, this funding approach has saddled future generations of Floridians with over a billion dollars in debt without appreciably increasing public safety.”
  • Smart on Crime Recommendations for the Administration and Congress, [PDF]
    The Smart on Crime Coalition, February, 2011
    “Smart on Crime seeks to provide federal policymakers in both Congress and the Administration a comprehensive, systematic analysis of the current challenges facing state and federal criminal justice systems and recommendations to address those challenges.”
  • Fact Sheet on President Obama's FY2012 Budge Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, February, 2011
    “[The] continued funding pattern will likely result in increased costs to states for incarceration that will outweigh the increased federal revenue for local law enforcement, with marginal public safety benefits.”
  • Banking on Bondage Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration, [PDF]
    ACLU, 2011
    (The evidence that private prisons provide savings compared to publicly operated facilities is highly questionable, and certain studies point to worse conditions in for-profit facilities.)
  • Justice Assistance Grant Program, 2012 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011
    “The five largest total state allocations included California ($32.9 million), Texas ($22.7 million), Florida ($19.5 million), New York ($16.0 million), and Illinois ($12.0 million).”
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of Raising the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction in North [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, 2011
    “Raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18 for alleged misdemeanants and low-level felons will generate $52.3 million in net benefits, per annual cohort of youth aged 16 and 17, from the combined perspectives of taxpayers, victims, and youth.”
  • Ex-offenders and the Labor Market [PDF]
    Center for Economic and Policy Research, November, 2010
    “Given our estimates of the number of ex-offenders and the best outside estimates of the associated reduction in employment suffered by ex-offenders, our calculations suggest that in 2008 the U.S. economy lost the equivalent of 1.5 to 1.7 million workers.”
  • The Continuing Fiscal Crisis in Corrections Setting a New Course, [PDF]
    The Vera Institute of Justice, October, 2010
    “Officials are recognizing—in large part due to 30 years of trial and error, backed up by data—that it is possible to reduce corrections spending while also enhancing public safety.”
  • The Hidden Costs of Criminal Justice Debt [PDF]
    Brennan Center for Justice, October, 2010
    “Although 'debtors' prison' is illegal in all states, reincarcerating individuals for failure to pay debt is, in fact, common in some -- and in all states new paths back to prison are emerging for those who owe criminal justice debt.”
  • In For a Penny The Rise of America's New Debtors' Prisons, [PDF]
    American Civil Liberties Union, October, 2010
    “Incarcerating indigent defendants unable to pay their legal financial obligations often ends up costing much more than states and counties can ever hope to recover.”
  • Department of Corrections-Prison Population Growth A Report to the Arizona Legislature, [PDF]
    State of Arizona Office of the Auditor General, September, 2010
    “The State paid more per inmate in private prisons that for equivalent services in state facilities.”
  • Collateral Costs Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility, [PDF]
    Pew Charitable Trust, Economic Mobility Project, September, 2010
    “Serving time reduces hourly wages for men by approximately 11 percent, annual employment by 9 weeks and annual earnings by 40 percent.”
  • Drawing Blood from Stones: Legal Debt and Social Inequality in the Contemporary United States, [PDF]
    Alexes Harris, Heather Evans, and Katherine Beckett, University of Washington, May, 2010
    “[F]indings suggest that monetary sanctions create long-term legal debt and significantly extend punishment’s effects over time.”
  • Pruning Prisons How Cutting Corrections Can Save Money and Protect Public Safety, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, May, 2009
    (The United States spends spend billions to incarcerate people in prisons and jails with little impact on public safety, but redirecting funds to community-based alternatives will decrease prison populations, save money, and preserve public safety.)
  • Fact Sheet on FY2010 Department of Justice Budget [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, May, 2009
    (The Factsheet on 2010 Department of Justice Budget finds that the 2010 DOJ budget directs more money to law enforcement than prevention with the likely long-term outcome being increased arrests, incarceration, and money spent on corrections.)
  • The Costs of Confinement Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, May, 2009
    (Cost of Confinement shows that states spend billions to imprison youth in secure facilities, but could save money, preserve public safety, and improve life outcomes for individual youth by redirecting the money to community-based alternatives.)
  • One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections, [PDF]
    The Pew Center on the States, March, 2009
    “For eight geographically diverse states [...] 88% of the increase in corrections spending was directed towards prisons, which now consume nearly nine out of every ten state corrections dollars.”
  • The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Poverty
    Crime and Delinquency, February, 2009
    “From an empirical standpoint, the results from the current analysis are quite clear; mass incarceration has played a major role in increasing poverty rates.”
  • The State of Sentencing 2008 Developments in Policy and Practice, [PDF]
    Sentencing Project, February, 2009
    “A nationwide budget crisis coupled with widespread prison overcrowding has led many states to address critical challenges in the areas such as sentencing, drug policy, parole revocation, racial justice, disenfranchisement, juvenile justice, and education.”
  • Justice Re-investment in New Orleans [PDF]
    Spatial Information Design Lab, February, 2009
    “By 2007, the citywide incarceration rate was at 57 percent of its 2003 level, while the overall population was estimated at 71 percent of its pre-Katrina figure.”
  • Compounded Disadvantage Race, Incarceration, and Wage Growth, [PDF]
    National Poverty Center, October, 2008
    “Multilevel growth curve models show that black inmates earn considerably less than white inmates, even after considering human capital variables and prior work histories. Furthermore, racial divergence in wages among inmates increases following release...”
  • Profiting from the Poor A Report on Predatory Probation Companies in Georgia, [PDF]
    Southern Center for Human Rights, July, 2008
    “The privatization of misdemeanor probation has placed unprecedented law enforcement authority in the hands of for-profit companies that act essentially as collection agencies.”
  • Repaying Debts [PDF]
    Justice Center, October, 2007
    “Financial pressures and paycheck garnishment resulting from unpaid debt can increase participation in the underground economy and discourage legitimate employment.”
  • Impacts of Jail Expansion in New York State: A Hidden Burden, [PDF]
    Center for Constitutional Rights, May, 2007
    “The growth in the number of people held in jail has not been caused by an increase in crime, as index crime reports decreased by 30 percent in the last decade in upstate and suburban New York overall.”
    (Construction of new prisons in New York poses a financial, employment and environmental burden on communities.)
  • State Funding for Corrections in FY 2006 and FY 2007 [PDF]
    National Conference of State Legislatures, May, 2007
    “Nationally, FY 2006 general fund corrections spending grew 10 percent above FY 2005 levels.”
  • Saving Futures, Saving Dollars The Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and Earnings, [PDF]
    Alliance for Excellent Education, September, 2006
    “[A]bout 75 percent of America's state prison inmates,almost 59 percent of federal inmates, and 69 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school.”
  • Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2003 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, April, 2006
  • Foreign Nationals in Michigan Prisons an examination of the costs, [PDF]
    Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending, April, 2006
    “The Governor should appoint an independent panel to review all alien prisoners, making recommendations for commutation and culling those who are eligible for removal before serving their entire sentence. The Governor should then request their removal.”
  • Cost-Effective Youth Corrections Rationalizing the Fiscal Architecture of Juvenile Justice Systems, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, March, 2006
    “The experience of secure confinement can change the kind of routine law-breaking that is often part of adolescence into a stable pattern that, unfortunately, endures over time. States are actually paying additional money to generate worse outcomes.”
  • Fees Paid by Jail Inmates: Fee Categories, Revenues, and Management Perspectives in a Sample of U.S. Jails, [PDF]
    National Institute of Corrections, December, 2005
    “Survey responses indicate that 90% of the jails that responded are currently charging jail inmate fees.”
  • Offender Work Report, 2004 [PDF]
    Washington State Jail Industries Board, October, 2005
    “Work within correctional facilities totaled 2,674,877 labor hours in 2004. Jails reported 113,560 labor hours performed on behalf of not-for-profit community organizations...”
  • Penny-Wise & Pound-Foolish: Assaultive offender programming and Michigan's prison costs, [PDF]
    Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending and American Friends Service Committee, Criminal Justice Program, April, 2005
    (Michigan Department of Corrections offers assaultive offender programming for people in prison for assault, the report examines the administrative shortfalls of this program and proposes solutions.)
  • Protecting the Future: Moderating West Virginia's Budget Crisis,
    Grassroots Leadership, February, 2005
  • Offender Work Report, 2002 [PDF]
    Washington State Jail Industries Board, 2005
  • Changing Fortunes or Changing Attitudes? Sentencing and Corrections Reforms in 2003, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, August, 2004
  • State Prison Expenditures, 2001 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, June, 2004
  • Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 2001 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, May, 2004
  • Locked Up: Corrections Policy in New Hampshire Paper 2: Options for Reducing the Prison Population and the Cost of Incarceration, [PDF]
    New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, February, 2004
  • Offender Work Report, 2003 [PDF]
    Washington State Jail Industries Board, 2004
  • Smart On Crime: Positive Trends in State-Level Sentencing and Corrections Policy, [PDF]
    Families Against Mandatory Minimums, November, 2003
  • 2002 State Expenditure Report [PDF]
    National Association of State Budget Officers, November, 2003
  • Dollars, Sentences and Long-Term Public Safety Managing a Fiscal Crisis with a Goal of Long-Term Public Safety, [PDF]
    Middle Ground Prison Reform, September, 2003
    (Arizona sentencing policy recommendations)
  • Ohio's Priorities?
    Prison Policy Initiative, September, 2003
    (charts of racial disparities in OH incarceration, and how much money is spent on education vs. prisons)
  • Upstate New York's Population Plateau: The Third-Slowest Growing 'State', [PDF]
    Brookings Institution, August, 2003
    “Nearly 30 percent of new residents in Upstate New York in the 1990s were prisoners.”
  • Dollars and Sentences: Legislators' Views on Prisons, Punishment, and the Budget Crisis, [PDF]
    Vera Institute of Justice, July, 2003
  • EPA helps prisons get up to speed on environmental compliance
    Environmental Protection Agency, June, 2003
  • Drug Policies in the State of Michigan: Economic Effects, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, May, 2003
  • Borrowing Against the Future: The Impact of Prison Expansion on Arizona Families, Schools and Communities, [PDF]
    Grassroots Leadership and Arizona Advocacy Network, April, 2003
  • Cutting Correctly in Maryland [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, February, 2003
    (lowering prison population will ease budget crisis)
  • Incarceration and Correctional Spending in Colorado A Legislator's Handbook on Criminal Justice Policy, 2003, [PDF]
    Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, February, 2003
  • Big Prisons, Small Towns: Prison Economics in Small Rural America, [PDF]
    Sentencing Project, February, 2003
  • Cutting Correctly, One Year Later: State Budget Crisis and Corrections Reform, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, January, 2003
  • The Economic Impacts of the Prison Development Boom On Persistently Poor Rural Places, [PDF]
    Tracey Farrigan and Amy Glasmeier, 2003
  • Seeking Balance: Reducing Prison Costs in Times of Austerity, [PDF]
    Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, December, 2002
  • Community Corrections in Ohio: Cost Savings and Program Effectiveness, [PDF]
    Policy Matters Ohio and Justice Policy Institute, December, 2002
    (Ohio has realized considerable cost savings by using community corrections programs instead of prison)
  • Building a prison economy in rural America
    Tracy Huling, October, 2002
  • Blueprint for Cost-Effective Pretrial Detention, Sentencing, and Corrections Systems, [PDF]
    American Bar Association, August, 2002
  • State Expenditure Report, 2001 [PDF]
    National Association of State Budget Officers, July, 2002
    (See chapter 5)
  • Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 1999 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, February, 2002
    “The extracts present public expenditure and employment data pertaining to justice activities in the United States, including police, judicial and legal services, and correctional activities.”
  • Cutting Correctly: New Prison Policies for Times of Fiscal Crisis, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, February, 2002
  • State Sentencing and Corrections Policy in an Era of Fiscal Restraint [PDF]
    Sentencing Project, February, 2002
  • Prison Expansion in a Time of Austerity: An Analysis of the Governor's Proposed New Prison in Delano, [PDF]
    Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, January, 2002
  • Offender Work Report, 2001 [PDF]
    Washington State Jail Industries Board, 2002
  • Jail Breaks: Economic Development Subsidies Given to Private Prisons, [PDF]
    Good Jobs First, October, 2001
  • Locked Up: Corrections Policy in New Hampshire Paper 1: The Fiscal Consequences of Incarceration Policies, 1981 to 2001, [PDF]
    New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, September, 2001
  • Offender Work Report, 2000 [PDF]
    Washington State Jail Industries Board, 2001
  • Justice Expenditure and Employment in the United States, 1995 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, November, 1999
  • Regulating the American Labor Market: The Role of the Prison Industrial Complex, [PDF]
    David Ladipo, September, 1999
  • State Prison Expenditures, 1996 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, August, 1999
    “presents comparative data on the cost of operating the Nation's State prisons”
  • Prisons as a Growth Industry in Rural America: An Exploratory Discussion of the Effects on Young African American Men in the Inner Cities,
    Tracy Huling, consultant to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, April, 1999
  • Cost Savings in State Corrections: Medical treatment in the community for very ill offenders.,
    Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, December, 1998
    (it's an MSWord file)
  • The Prison Industrial Complex
    Eric Schlosser, Atlantic Monthly, December, 1998
  • Truth In Sentencing: Availability of Federal Grants Influenced Laws in Some States, [PDF]
    General Accounting Office, February, 1998
  • Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts, 1992 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, January, 1997
  • Rural Prisons: An Update [PDF]
    Calvin Beale, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Perspectives, February, 1996
    “nonmetro counties continued to acquire prisons at a rate dramatically out of proportion to the percentage of the Nation's population that lives in such areas.”
  • Federal and State Prisons: Inmate Populations, Costs, and Projection Models, 1996, [PDF]
    General Accounting Office, 1996
  • Prison as Industry [PDF]
    New York State Coalition for Criminal Justice, 1994
  • Justice Expenditure and Employment, 1990 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, September, 1992
    “Federal Government spending on justice increased 128% in constant dollars per capita from 1971 to 1990, more than twice as fast as the 54.5% increase among State and local governments.”
  • The State Expenditure Report [PDF]
    National Association of State Budget Officers, July, 1987
    “This report provides figures for actual Fiscal Year 1985 expenditures, estimated Fiscal Year 1986 expenditures..., and appropriated Fiscal Year 1987 expenditures.”
  • The Private Sector and Prison Industries [PDF]
    National Institute of Justice, August, 1985
    “As of January 1985, there were 26 projects in which the private sector was involved with State-level prison industries. There has been a gradual growth [...] until 1980, when a marked increase occurred at a rate that continues to grow today.”

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