The ratio of people in prison is higher than ever before. Three decades of growth in America’s prison population we have now for the first time, more than one
in every 100 adults is now in jail or prison. From the press release:
Access the report from Pew Research here:
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...
... lawmakers are learning that current prison growth is not driven
primarily by a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the population at large. Rather, it flows principally from a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular “three-strikes” measures and
other sentencing enhancements, keeping them there longer.
Twenty years ago, the states collectively spent $10.6 billion of their general funds — their primary discretionary dollars — on corrections. Last year, they spent more than $44 billion in general funds, a 315 percent jump, and more than $49 billion in total funds from all sources. Coupled with tightening state budgets, the greater prison expenditures may force states to make tough choices about where to spend their money.
Pew Center On The States