The Most Important Graph in the World

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where the money goes

PRISON SPENDING GROWTH TOPS ALL BUT MEDICAID

NY Times - One in every 31 adults, or 7.3 million Americans, is in prison, on parole or probation, at a cost to the states of $47 billion in 2008, according to a new study. Criminal correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance, based on state and federal data. Only Medicaid spending grew faster than state corrections spending, which quadrupled in the past two decades, according to the report by the Pew Center on the States, the first breakdown of spending in confinement and supervision in the past seven years. . .

States have shown a preference for prison spending even though it is cheaper to monitor convicts in community programs, including probation and parole, which require offenders to report to law enforcement officers. A survey of 34 states found that states spent an average of $29,000 a year on prisoners, compared with $1,250 on probationers and $2,750 on parolees. The study found that despite more spending on prisons, recidivism rates remained largely unchanged.

It would be in Salem too, were Cherriots not cutting back

Washington Post story on the nationwide surge in transit ridership.