Americans believe too many people are in prison and the nation spends too much keeping them there. But they also are concerned about keeping our streets safe, according to polling from 2012.
State legislatures are addressing all three concerns with policies that reduce prison populations and maintain public safety, and at the same time lower costs. In 15 states prison populations have been reduced enough to warrant closing some correctional facilities.
Corrections officials across the country reduced expenses by 3 percent in FY 2010. That’s the largest reduction of any major budget category in recent years, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. Staff furloughs and administrative changes helped, but larger and potentially more sustainable reductions have come as a result of sentencing and corrections policy changes. Because of successful reforms, more offenders are safely supervised in the community and recidivism rates are down.
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National Council of State Legislatures Magazine