Endnotes

  1. Between 1925 and 1975, the U.S. incarceration rate hovered around 100 per 100,000, with a minor spike between 1937 and 1941, when it reached between 120 and 140 per 100,000. See University at Albany, Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, Table 6.28.2012: “Number and rate (per 100,000 resident population in each group) of sentenced prisoners under jurisdiction of State and Federal correctional authorities on December 31, by sex, United States 1925-2012” https://perma.cc/7GKM-8HTU. For the 2009 incarcerated population count, see E. Ann Carson and Elizabeth Anderson, Prisoners in 2015 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2016), 3.
  2. For an overview of the expanding penal code, see Douglas Husak, Overcriminalization: The Limits of The Criminal Law (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009); also see Stephen F. Smith, “Overcoming Overcriminalization,” Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology 102, no.3 (2012): 537-543; and Paul J. Larkin Jr., “Public Choice Theory and Overcriminalization,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 36, no.2 (2013): 715, 723-735. Quality-of-life offenses include loitering and disorderly conduct. For an example of zero tolerance policing practices in New York City, see Jeffrey Fagan and Garth Davies, “Street Stops and Broken Windows: Terry, Race, and Disorder in New York City,” Fordham Urban Law Journal 28, (2000): 457, 470-2, and 475-8; also see Jeffrey Fagan, Valerie West, and Jan Holland, “Reciprocal Effects of Crime and Incarceration in New York City Neighborhoods,” Fordham Urban Law Journal 30, no.5 (2002): 1551 and 1563-1566, and K. Babe Howell, “Broken Lives from Broken Windows: The Hidden Costs of Aggressive Order- Maintenance Policing,” New York University Review of Law & Social Change 33 (2009): 271, 276. For information on the introduction of stiffer penalties, see Ram Subramanian and Ruth Delaney, Playbook for Change? States Reconsider Mandatory Sentences (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2014), 6.
  3. In 1979, there were 568 state prisons. By 2005, that number reached 1,719—a 200 percent increase. See James Stephen, Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 1990 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1992), iv; and James Stephen, Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2005 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008), 2. Prison construction was in part encouraged by federal legislation. In 1994, the federal government passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that established the Truth-in-Sentencing (TIS) Incentive Grants Program, which provided grants for prison construction and expansion to states that adopted policies requiring people sentenced to prison to serve a substantial portion—up to 85 percent—of their sentences. While Delaware, Minnesota, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington had already adopted TIS laws prior to 1994, 22 additional states adopted policies by 1998 to secure their eligibility for TIS grant money. See Paula M. Ditton and Doris James Wilson, Truth in Sentencing in State Prisons (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999), 2-3.
  4. Between 1990 and 2005, the number of staff working in state and federal confinement facilities grew from approximately 259,000 to 445,000 staff, a 72 percent increase. See James Stephen, Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 1990, 1992, 15; and James Stephen, Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2005, 2008, 4.
  5. From 2000 to 2005, the number of private facilities increased from 16 percent (264) to 23 percent (415) of all correctional institutions, two-thirds of which were under contract to state authorities. See James Stephen, Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2005 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008), 1. An example of a state department of correction sending population overflow to other systems is Pennsylvania. In 2010, Pennsylvania entered into two renewable two-year contracts with Michigan and Virginia to house approximately 2,000 people it had no room to house. See Corinne Reilly, “Pennsylvania to Reclaim Prisoners Housed in Virginia,” The Virginian-Pilot, September 30, 2011, https://perma.cc/F2JK-RKP4. The number of people under the jurisdiction of state prisons who were held in local jails grew from 59,250 in 1999, the first year the Bureau of Justice Statistics collected this data, to 80,426 in 2015, an increase of 36 percent. See E. Ann Carson and Joseph Mulako-Wangota, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Count of jurisdiction population - held in county facilities/local jails. Generated using the Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool (CSAT) - Prisoners at www.bjs.gov.
  6. E. Ann Carson and Elizabeth Anderson, Prisoners in 2015 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2016), 3.
  7. For example, see Rebecca Silber, Ram Subramanian, and Maia Spotts, Justice in Review: New Trends in State Sentencing and Corrections 2014-2015 (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2016). For research about effective correctional strategies in the community, see Vera Institute of Justice, The Potential of Community Corrections to Improve Safety and Reduce Incarceration (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2013). Also see National Institute of Corrections and Crime and Justice Institute, Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Community Corrections: The Principles of Effective Intervention (Washington, DC: Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, 2004); and Christopher T. Lowenkamp and Edward J. Latessa, “Understanding the Risk Principle: How and Why Correctional Interventions Can Harm Low- Risk Offenders” in Topics in Community Corrections (Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections, 2004).
  8. For declining rates of criminal victimization, see Jennifer L. Truman and Rachel E. Morgan, Criminal Victimization, 2015 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2016), Figures 1-3. For an opinion poll on criminal justice issues, see Jill Mizell and Loren Siegel, An Overview of Public Opinion and Discourse on Criminal Justice Issues (New York: The Opportunity Agenda, 2014), 19-24. For example, The Opportunity Agenda found that 69 percent of Americans felt that the criminal justice system “needed major improvements” or “a complete redesign,” and that nearly half of Americans believe society is better served by a greater effort to rehabilitate people convicted of crimes. The report also cites a Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center study finding that, in 2010, 64 percent of respondents reported that their preferred approach to lowering crime was by adding “more money and effort” to “attacking the social and economic problems that lead to crime through better education and job training,” compared to only 32 percent who preferred “more money and effort” for “deterring crime by improving law enforcement with more prisons, police, and judges.” In 1994, only 51 percent of respondents favored the former approach. Also see Pew Center on the States, Public Opinion on Sentencing and Corrections Policy in America (Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2012) for the result of a public opinion poll that demonstrates that most Americans support alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenses. For research on the recidivism rate, see Matthew R. Durose et al., Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014). According to that report, in 2005, 67.8 percent of the state prisoners released from 30 states were rearrested within three years, and 76.6 percent were rearrested within five years. Also see The Pew Center on the States, State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons (Washington, DC: Pew Charitable Trusts, 2011).
  9. See, for example, Rebecca Silber, et al., Justice in Review, 2016; and Ram Subramanian, Rebecka Moreno, and Sharyn Broomhead, Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2014). See also Lauren Brooke Eisen and Juliene James, Reallocating Justice Resources: A Review of 2011 State Sentencing Trends (New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2012); Alison Lawrence, Trends in Sentencing and Corrections: State Legislation (Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013); and Alison Lawrence and Donna Lyons, Principles of Effective State Sentencing and Corrections Policy (Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2011).
  10. While nearly all states were able to comprehensively tally the total cost of the prison system, three states—Hawaii, Massachusetts, and South Dakota—could not provide the amount of expenditures for pension contributions paid for by other state agencies. In addition, a number of states could not provide the amount of Other Post- Employment Benefits (OPEB) for prison employees, while other states did not provide other costs that support prisons, such as hospital care for incarcerated people or debt service. Thus, these estimates should be considered conservative.
  11. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Table 1.1.9 “Implicit Price Deflators for Gross Domestic Product," https://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm.  
  12. See Erving Goffman, “On the characteristics of total institutions,” in Donald R. Cressey (ed), The Prison: Studies in Institutional Organization and Change (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961), 15-64. Following Erving Goffman, social scientists have long viewed prisons as a primary example of a “total institution.” In such an institution, people who reside there must conduct different aspects of their life—such as sleeping, eating, and working—in the same place, under a singular authority, with other people they have not chosen, under a structured scheme of formal rules, and with limited contact with the outside world.
  13. Vera’s writing generally uses “incarcerated person” in lieu of the term “inmate.” In this report, we use “inmate” when referencing the commonly used statistic “cost per inmate,” and “incarcerated person” when making reference to people held in prison.
  14. The corrections systems in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont have a unified structure, meaning that jails and prisons are operated by the state rather than county and state jurisdictions, respectively. The figures provided by these states include people in both sentenced and accused status, meaning that they include the cost of pretrial detention.
  15. Three states—Iowa, Kansas, and North Dakota—did not provide disaggregated expenditure data.
  16. The health care category comprises payments to health care providers, hospitals, physicians, and for pharmaceuticals for incarcerated people. In states that provide direct health care services, the salaries and benefits for health care employees were included in the salary and benefit category. The health care estimate should be considered conservative. For more on state prison health care spending, see The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, State Prison Health Care Spending (Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 2014).
  17. The Pew Charitable Trusts, National Imprisonment and Crime Rates Continue to Fall (Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2016).
  18. During this period in New York City, felony arrests declined, and judges and prosecutors increased the use of alternatives to incarceration such as adjournments in contemplation of dismissal, conditional and unconditional discharges, drug treatment, and fines, and decreased the use of prison, jail, and probation sentences. See Judith Greene and Vincent Schiraldi, “Better by Half: The New York City Story of Winning Large-Scale Decarceration while Increasing Public Safety,” Federal Sentencing Reporter 29, (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2016) 22-38.
  19. Andrew Howland, chief budget analyst, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 18, 2016.
  20. Gary Alpert, assistant commissioner of administration, Patricia Loreti, director, Office of Financial Management, and Donna Gies, supervising administrative analyst, New Jersey Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 25, 2016.
  21. John P. Morgan, director, Division of Budget and Planning, South Carolina Department of Corrections, e-mail correspondence with Vera Institute of Justice, August 16, 2016.
  22. See Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act of 2010, South Carolina General Assembly, 118th Session, 2009-2010, https://perma.cc/Y3EL-KWRH.
  23. Ibid. 
  24. Emma Dean and J. J. Gentry, State Expenditures Savings Report (Columbia, SC: The South Carolina Sentencing Reform Oversight Committee, 2015), 3 and 5.
  25. Ibid, 3-6.
  26. South Carolina Department of Corrections, Facility Openings and Closures at https://perma.cc/7XKN-QCMD. Two additional facilities were closed in 2016.
  27. John Agar, “Michigan Prison to Close as Inmate Population Declines,” Mlive.com, May 31, 2016, https://perma.cc/6W9R-L5S7.
  28. Michigan Department of Corrections, “Announcement of the Closing of Florence Crane Facility,” Press release, March 24, 2011.
  29. Shannon Pike, budget, accounting and projections division administrator, Michigan Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 24, 2016.
  30. Tom James, chief financial officer, and Ashlee Clemmons, chief administrator, Business Services, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 24, 2016.
  31. Scott Ewart, chief of fiscal services, and John Borrowman, deputy director, Support Services, Nevada Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, September 21, 2016.
  32. See Public Safety Improvement Act of 2011 (SB 750),  http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/SB750.pdf. Also see Pew Center on the States, Arkansas’s 2011 Public Safety Reform Legislation to Reduce Recidivism and Curtail Prison Growth (Washington, DC: Pew Center on the States, 2011); and Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, Justice Reinvestment in Arkansas (Lexington, KY: CSG, 2016).
  33. Ibid. Council of State Governments, 2016.
  34. Tiffanye Compton, research and planning administrator and Mike Carraway, assistant director of administrative services, Arkansas Department of Correction, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 23, 2016.
  35. The employee contribution rate for the States Employees’ Retirement System increased from 4 percent in 2010 to 20.5 percent in 2015. See States Employees’ Retirement System, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System 2008 Actuarial Report (Harrisburg, PA: SERS, 2008), 13; and State Employees’ Retirement System, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System 2013 Actuarial Report (Harrisburg, PA: SERS, 2013), 17.
  36. Harry Jones, director of administration, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 15, 2016. See also Charles Thompson, “State Prison Overtime Debate is ‘Exhibit A’ in Pennsylvania’s Budget Stalemate,” PennLive.com, February 29, 2016, https://perma.cc/F23K-3BKJ.
  37. Matt D’Agostino, financial director, Vermont Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 25, 2016.
  38. Joanne Hill, associate director, Financial Resources, Rhode Island Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 15, 2016.
  39. Carlos Quant, staff services manager, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 31, 2016.
  40. E. Ann Carson and William J. Sabol, Aging of the State Prison Population, 1993-2013 (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2016.
  41. R.V. Rikard and Ed Rosenberg, “Aging Inmates: A Convergence of Trends in the American Criminal Justice System,” Journal of Correctional Health Care 13, no 3 (2007): 150-162.
  42. See Kristin Gourlay, “Costly Hepatitis C Drugs Threaten to Bust Prison Budgets,” NPR, December 24, 2014, http://www.npr.org/ sections/health-shots/2014/12/24/372721256/costly-hepatitis-cdrugs- threaten-to-bust-prison-budgets; and Beth Schwartzapfel, “Why Some Prisoners with HIV Get Better Treatment than Others,” The Marshall Project, March 29, 2016, https://perma.cc/YR6B-88Y4.
  43. Hilarye Dailey, director of administrative services, Kentucky Department of Corrections, e-mail correspondence with Vera Institute of Justice, August 24, 2016.
  44. Jodie Wedel, deputy bureau chief, administrative services, and Robert May, deputy bureau chief, Bureau of Prisons, Delaware Department of Correction, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, August 31, 2016.
  45. Montana Department of Corrections memo, from Director Mike Ferriter to Department of Corrections employees, Re: Lewistown infirmary project, May 18, 2012, https://perma.cc/7WK6-G8EB
  46. April Grady, budget and contract management bureau chief, Montana Department of Corrections, interview by Vera Institute of Justice, September 12, 2016.
  47. Montana Department of Corrections, 2015 Biennial Report (Helena, MT: Montana Department of Corrections, 2015), C-5.