Meanwhile, the Prison System is a prime example of runaway, ratchet-up spending. Speaking of Convicting the Innocent on my blog a few days ago, I have to repeat: the more we spend to convict and imprison them, the more we'll convict and imprison. Make sense? Spend more convict more. Spend less convict less. Sounds scary. Then consider how much safer we are with more ex-convicts among us than with less. How much safer are we now than ten, twenty, thirty years ago?
The recent Pew Center Press release on Numbers held in US prisons, begins:
Washington, DC - 02/28/2008 - For the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety. According to a new report released today by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, at the start of 2008, 2,319,258 adults were held in American prisons or jails, or one in every 99.1 men and women, according to the study. During 2007, the prison population rose by more than 25,000 inmates. In addition to detailing state and regional prison growth rates, Pew’s report, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, identifies how corrections spending compares to other state investments, why it has increased, and what some states are doing to limit growth in both prison populations and costs while maintaining public safety.