The Vera Institute of Justice's Center on Sentencing and Corrections and Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit developed a methodology to calculate the taxpayer cost of prisons, including costs outside states’ corrections budgets. Among the 40 states that participated in a survey, the cost of prisons was $38.8 billion in fiscal year 2010, $5.4 billion more than what their corrections budgets reflected. States’ costs outside their corrections departments ranged from less than 1 percent of total prison costs in Arizona to as much as 34 percent in Connecticut. In Illinois, the average annual cost per inmate in FY2010 was $38,268, significantly higher than the $22,043 reported in the Illinois Department of Corrections' 2010 Annual Report. Vera's full report provides the taxpayer cost of incarcerating a sentenced adult offender to state prison in 40 states, presents the methodology, and concludes with recommendations about steps policy makers can take to safely rein in these costs. To view the full report and state fact sheets, click here.
Insights & Information
from the fields of Criminal Justice, Recovery and Restoration of Citizenship
The Sentencing Project has released a new report, Too Good to Be True: Private Prisons in America, which details the history of private prisons in America, documents the increase in their use, and examines their purported benefits. Thirty states and the federal government had some level of prison privatization in 2010 (Illinois is not among them). The amount of privately held state prisoners increased by 40 percent between 1999 and 2010, while the number of federal inmates held privately increased by 784 percent. In contrast, the total prison population experienced a 17 percent increase during this period. The report includes a comprehensive chart on state and federal privatization levels.
Reports: U.S. Correctional Population Declines for Second Consecutive Year, Prison Population Down for First Time in 4 Decades
The total U.S. prison population fell to 1.6 million at yearend 2010, a decline of 0.6 percent during the year, the first decline in the total prison population in nearly four decades. This decline was due to a decrease of 10,881 in the number of state prisoners, which fell to just under 1.4 million persons and was the largest yearly decrease since 1977. The federal prison population grew by 0.8 percent (1,653 prisoners) to reach 209,771, the smallest percentage increase since 1980.
Half of state departments of corrections reported decreases in their prison population during 2010. California (down 6,213) and Georgia (down 4,207) reported the largest decreases, followed by New York (down 2,031) and Michigan (down 1,365). Illinois (up 3,257) reported the largest increase, followed by Texas (up 2,400) and Arkansas (up 996).
Among offender age groups, about 3.1 percent of black males in the nation were in state or federal prison, compared to just under 0.5 percent of white males and 1.3 percent of Hispanic males. Also, an estimated 7.3 percent of all black males ages 30 to 34 were incarcerated with a sentence of more than 1 year.
To read the reports, click here and here.
A report released in November 2011 by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission charges that the state's juvenile justice system is failing to rehabilitate and return to society the youth involved in it. The Commission noted that more than half of youth released from the system return to incarceration with the juvenile system, and that it also serves as a "feeder" system for the adult correctional system. To read more in an article by Ryan Haggerty in the Chicago Tribune, click here.
- JHA Report: Menard Correctional Center
- Report: Investigating the Link Between Housing Vouchers and Crime
- Sentencing Project Report: Evaluating the Justice Reinvestment Initiative
- ALERT: HB2265 / SB1003 – Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for Unlawful Use of Weapons Convictions
- ALERT: HB2404 - Raise the Age of Juvenile Court to 18 for All Offenses
- FAMM Report: How Sentencing Safety Valves Can Increase Public Safety and Save Money
- MacArthur Foundation Project: Mistakes Kids Make
- Restorative Justice Town Hall Meeting
- ACLU: Reducing Reliance on Incarceration in 2013
- Sun-Times: End Felony Charges for Prostitution in Illinois
- Chicago News (10)
- Cook County (9)
- corrections spending (41)
- criminal justice system (104)
- diversion (17)
- Drug laws (20)
- employment (17)
- Events (2)
- Expungement (5)
- funding (26)
- Illinois news (49)
- juveniles (19)
- national news (43)
- Pew Center (3)
- Police (7)
- probation (5)
- public opinion (2)
- public safety (16)
- racial disparity (8)
- re-entry (29)
- Sentencing (12)
- state budget (14)
- State News (5)
- Take Action (22)
- The Sentencing Project (8)