Limiting Incarceration of Non-Violent Offenders Could Save Billions

Monday, June 14, 2010
(photo: California Department of Corrections)

Sentencing reform for non-violent offenders could lead to billion-dollar reductions in state and local corrections budgets, argues the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in a new report.

The authors of “The High Budgetary Costs of Incarceration” estimate that state and local governments could save $15 billion a year by reducing the incarceration rate for lower- risk criminals.
CEPR found that 60% of prison and jail populations consisted of non-violent offenders, and a quarter of all prisoners were drug offenders not convicted of violent crimes.
The research center also pointed out that the total number of violent crimes in the U.S. was only 3% higher in 2008 than it was in 1980. During that time period, the American population increased by 33% while the prison and jail population soared by more than 350%.
As of 2008, the U.S. had an incarceration rate of 753 per 100,000 people—the highest by far in the world. The second highest belonged to Poland, at 224.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration (Charts) (Center for Economic and Policy Research)
The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration (by John Schmitt, Kris Warner, and Sarika Gupta, Center for Economic and Policy Research) (pdf)


Joseph Conrad 11 years ago
But letting all those non-violent, drug-crazed prisons loose would spread terror across Wealthy Old White communities that BOUGHT congressmen and women to have those thugs incarcerated in th first place! Just think of all the Black Men who'd be able to go to college rather than serve time for a matchhead worth of crack while White Boys with 2-10 KILOS just 'walked' every day!
Francis 11 years ago
Asking for "Sentencing reform for non-violent offenders" is but a act as referee to a merciless public opinion in Incarceration Nation established since some 30 years. Change your mind means reforming lawmakers and devoted judges habits toward a society's human face. Some examples: * Americans Murdering Their Judges, and the US Crisis of Judicial Corruption by Dr Les Sachs (Dr Leslie Sachs) (Actually this isn't new article. It came out a couple of years ago on JAIL4JUDGES. ) * William Stuntz on the Structural Causes of “Massive Over-Incarceration”, April 13, 2010 * THE AMERICAN SYSTEM OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY 1. POLITICAL BASIS OF AMERICAN CRIMINAL LAW * California can't pay for justice - The budget crunch has derailed common-sense proposals to help protect the rights of the accused. July 5, 2008 2008jul05,0,5639772.story * Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions New York, 30 June 2008 -

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