Forecasting america’s prison population, 2007-2011

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Report Objectives
1. To estimate the future size and cost of state and federal prison systems
2. To examine the reasons for projected growth
3. To highlight state efforts to control corrections spending
4. To outline the challenges ahead for state policy makers

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  • The past three decades have witnessed a historic increase in the nation’s penal system at all levels. National trends mask significant state-level variation, which is the case both for incarceration and the population under community under supervision. It would be valuable for policy makers and the public to understand the likely future outcomes in states than have adopted varying policies.
  • To make an estimate of the prison population, researchers contacted each of the 50 states and the BOP and requested their current official population projections. Where available, projections by gender were also requested. The BOP and 42 states provided at least a five year prison population forecast. For the remaining 8 states, researchers made estimates based on current population trends and extrapolated for five years.
  • In cumulative terms, the 14% projected increase in costs means that states and federal government would spend a cumulative $15 billion in operating costs over just the next five years to accommodate projected growth Applying the $65,000 estimate of construction costs to the projected need for 192,000 additional prison beds, the total construction costs would be approximately $12.5 billion in 2006 dollars
  • Forecasting america’s prison population, 2007-2011

    1. 1. Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America’s Prison Population, 2007-2011 Adam Gelb, Project Director Public Safety Performance Project The Pew Charitable Trusts, Pew Center on the States October 2, 2007
    2. 2. Where We’ve Been
    3. 3. Where We’ve Been – Costs Growth in State Corrections Costs $0 $5,000,000,000 $10,000,000,000 $15,000,000,000 $20,000,000,000 $25,000,000,000 $30,000,000,000 $35,000,000,000 $40,000,000,000 $45,000,000,000 $50,000,000,000 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
    4. 4. Where Are We Going? Report Objectives  To estimate the future size and cost of state and federal prison systems  To examine the reasons for projected growth  To highlight state efforts to control corrections spending  To outline the challenges ahead for state policy makers
    5. 5. Projection Formula 2011 State Prison Population = [2006 population x 0.453957294846] µ 2005 UCR ± 29384823 ÷ Census projection of 16-24 year-olds x .267 – .364SES¥ - [1/HS graduation rate x .8003] JUST KIDDING! – We called the states
    6. 6. What We Found – National
    7. 7. National
    8. 8. National
    9. 9. Estimating Future Prison Costs  Operating Costs: National average in 2005 dollars - $23,876 per inmate  Capital Costs: Midpoint estimate $65,000 per bed
    10. 10. What We Found – Costs New Prison Spending, 2007-2011 $15,000,000,000 $12,500,000,000 $0 $2,000,000,000 $4,000,000,000 $6,000,000,000 $8,000,000,000 $10,000,000,000 $12,000,000,000 $14,000,000,000 $16,000,000,000 Operating Costs Capital Costs
    11. 11. Regions
    12. 12. State Highlights
    13. 13. State Highlights 10 Lowest-Growth States  Delaware 0%  New York 0%  Connecticut 0%  Maryland 1%  Louisiana 4%  Wisconsin 5%  Tennessee 5%  Missouri 6%  Massachusetts 6%  Rhode Island 7%
    14. 14. Key Drivers and Trends  Population growth, esp. in West  Growing admissions (1980-1992)  Longer length of stay (1992- )  Probation and parole violators (60% of growth)  Women (57%) growing faster than men (34%)  Rising age (up from 31 to 34)  Methamphetamine cases  Mental health cases  Workforce recruitment and retention  Sex-offender laws will be felt in out-years
    15. 15. Tremendous State Variation
    16. 16. Tremendous State Variation Admissions x Length of Stay = Prison Population Admissions, Length of Stay Determined Largely by Policy Choices State Policy Choices = State Prison Population / Costs
    17. 17. CT –Targeted Reform  Problem  Identified technical violators as driver  Solution  Set goal of reducing TVs by 20%  Hired 96 new POs  Started 2 new supervision/service programs  Public awareness campaign  Result  Highest growth to flat  Crime drop parallel to national reduction
    18. 18. NC – Broad System Reform  Problem  Lack of truth, violent offenders serving short terms  Solution  Build prisons for violent/chronic offenders  Abolish discretionary parole release  Establish comprehensive guidelines  Create state/local partnership for low risk  Result  One of highest incarc. rates to middle of the pack  Crime fell in sync with national drop  Estimated $2 billion in savings over past 12 years
    19. 19. Exciting Time in Criminal Justice  Advances in science of behavior change  Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment  Motivational Interviewing  Contingency Management  Advances in supervision technology  Accurate, on site, rapid-result drug screens  GPS monitoring  Broad public support for alternatives  Trend toward Managing for Results  Budget pressure  Bipartisan reform efforts across the nation
    20. 20. Implications Central Question is Being Reframed OLD “How can we demonstrate that we’re tough on crime?” NEW “How can we deliver taxpayers the best return on their investment?”
    21. 21. Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America’s Prison Population, 2007-2011 Adam Gelb, Project Director Public Safety Performance Project The Pew Charitable Trusts, Pew Center on the States October 2, 2007

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