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Paying the price: the rising cost of prison
Extent: 27 p., 1046K, PDF 2.0
Examines policy options to a rising prison population
Date: March 1, 1996
Subject(s): Crime and criminals; Government spending
Creator(s): Minnesota Planning (Agency). Criminal Justice Statistics Center
Contributor: Ray Lewis
Publisher: Minnesota Planning (Agency)
Spending for prisons nearly quadrupled from 1980 to 1996 and is projected in this report to increase another 45 percent to $234 million in 1999. The state's adult prison population doubled from 1986 to 1996 and also is estimated to grow 45 percent by 2005, reaching almost 6,700 inmates.
Policy options in responce to these trends include:
1) Continue to increase prison sentences and build more prisons.
2) Hold the line on increasing criminal penalties and delay the need for a new prison in 2005. Aggressively expand space at current prisons and acquire more space from county jails and other states.
3) Expand use of community-based penalties while holding the line on increasing criminal penalties, delaying the need for a new prison in 2005.
4) Adjust sentences of nonviolent offenders, saving 270 to 470 beds or more. Coupled with other actions, this could have the largest impact on the need for an additional prison.
5) Take strong actions to trim costs, such as contracting for private management, which would free up dollars but not beds.
6) Invest in prevention, reducing future but not near-term prison populations.
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