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March 2, 2009

Pew Center releases new report on scope of criminal justice control in US

This morning the Pew Center on the States released a follow-up report to last year's “One in 100: Behind Bars in America” (blogged here).  This year's report on criminal justice control in America, which can be accessed at this link, is titled "One in 31: The Long Reach of America Corrections."

This latest Pew report expands the scope of its prior analysis beyond incarceration statistics to include criminal justice control in the form of probation and parole.  The report discusses the relative costs of imprisonment and community supervision and the impact of incarceration on crime, and it seeks to provide a framework for states to achieve better public safety returns on taxpayer investments.  This AP coverage provides the basic highlights from the report:

The number of offenders on parole and probation across the United States has surged past 5 million, complicating the challenges for fiscally ailing states as they try to curb corrections costs without jeopardizing public safety, according to a new report.

The Pew Center on the States report, released Monday, says the number of people on probation or parole nearly doubled to more than 5 million between 1982 and 2007.  Including jail and prison inmates, the total population of the U.S. corrections system now exceeds 7.3 million — one of every 31 U.S. adults, it said.

The report also noted huge discrepancies among the states in regard to the total corrections population — one of every 13 adults in Georgia and one of every 18 in Idaho at one end of the scale, one of every 88 in New Hampshire at the other extreme.  The racial gap also was stark — one of every 11 black adults is under correctional supervision, one of every 27 Hispanic adults, one of every 45 white adults.

March 2, 2009 at 01:58 PM | Permalink


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I've always wondered why private foundations do these studies. Don't we have reliable data from DOJ? How can we be sure that this data isn't skewed (I'm not saying it is - I have no idea one way or the other).

Posted by: | Mar 2, 2009 9:12:39 PM

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