The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration
AbstractThe 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.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in its series CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs with number 2010-14.
Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
incarceration; prison; jail; incarceration rates; budget deficit;
Other versions of this item:
- E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
- E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- H - Public Economics
- H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
- H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
- H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
- H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems
- K - Law and Economics
- K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
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- Holzer, Harry J., 2007. "Collateral Costs: The Effects of Incarceration on the Employment and Earnings of Young Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 3118, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Harry J. Holzer & Steven Raphael & Michael A. Stoll, 2001. "Will Employers Hire Ex-Offenders? Employer Preferences, Background Checks, and Their Determinants," JCPR Working Papers 238, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- Holzer, Harry J & Raphael, Steven & Stoll, Michael A, 2006. "Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 451-80, October.
- Florian Baumann & Tim Friehe, 2013.
"Cheap Talk About The Detection Probability,"
International Game Theory Review (IGTR),
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 15(01), pages 1350003-1-1.
- John Schmitt & Janelle Jones, 2012. "Long-term Hardship in the Labor Market," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2012-09, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
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