CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research

Multimedia

En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Reports The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration

The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration

June 2010, John Schmitt, Kris Warner, and Sarika Gupta

The United States currently incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country in the world. We calculate that a reduction in incarceration rates just to the level we had in 1993 (which was already high by historical standards) would lower correctional expenditures by $16.9 billion per year, with the large majority of these savings accruing to financially squeezed state and local governments. As a group, state governments could save $7.6 billion, while local governments could save $7.2 billion.

These cost savings could be realized through a reduction by one-half in the incarceration rate of exclusively non-violent offenders, who now make up over 60 percent of the prison and jail population.

A review of the extensive research on incarceration and crime suggests that these savings could be achieved without any appreciable deterioration in public safety.

Issue Brief - PDF pdf_small | Flash flash_small

Press Release



incarceration1-fig2

incarceration1-fig3

incarceration1-fig5

incarceration1-fig6

incarceration1-savings
 

CEPR.net
donate_new
Combined Federal Campaign #79613