The Price of Prisons Examining State Spending Trends, 2010 - 2015

Price Of Prisons 2015 State Spending Trends Square

Overview

From the early 1970s into the new millennium, the U.S. prison population experienced unprecedented growth, which had a direct influence on state budgets. In recent years, however, lawmakers in nearly every state and from across the political spectrum have enacted new laws to reduce prison populations and spending. This report, which builds upon the information found in Vera’s 2012 publication The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers, found that 13 states were successful in reducing both population and spending. However, no single reason explains a rise or fall in spending; instead, a multitude of factors push and pull expenditures in different directions. Read the report and explore our interactive data visualization below to learn more.

Prison Population and Spending 2010-2015

Adjust arrows to view the four different combinations of population and spending trends. Select any state to see detailed data.

Population
Spending
Population
Spending
In 13 states where the prison population has declined since 2010, total prison costs declined by $1.6 billion.
In 7 states where the prison population has increased since 2010, total prison costs declined $254 million.
In 10 states where the prison population has declined since 2010, total prison costs increased $1.1 billion.
In 15 states where the prison population has increased since 2010, total prisons costs increased $508 million.