States Find Alternatives to Jail Produce Significant Savings

Source: Matthew Gever, State Health Notes, Volume 29, Issue 521, August 4, 2008

Cash-strapped states are reeling: the number of inmates in U.S. jails or prisons has reached a new high–230 million, or more than one in every 100 adults, according to a new report by the PEW Center on the States. In some states, corrections consumes more of the budget than Medicaid or education.

The increase is driven by a number of factors, including policies like “three strikes” and added jail time for sometimes minor parole violations. But the rise also is driven by high rates of recidivism among people convicted of substance abuse-related crimes such as driving while under the influence.

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