[JURIST] One in 31 US adults are on probation, in prison, or on parole, according to a report [text; press release] released Monday by the Pew Center on the States [advocacy website]. The report found that men are five times more likely than women to be under correctional control, although the number of women continues to grow. Black adults are four times more likely than white adults to be under correctional supervision. These correctional controls cost an escalating $68 billion per year, without an apparent change in recidivism rates. The report states:
With the costs of imprisonment rising and the benefits falling, our ability to keep communities safe depends more than ever upon our ability to better manage the 5 million offenders on probation and parole. The current budget crisis presents states with an important, perhaps unprecedented opportunity to do so. Rather than trying to weather the economic storm with short-term cost saving measures, policy leaders should see this as a chance to retool their sentencing and corrections systems.With the current total of 7.3 million adults under correctional control, the report outlines a six-step strategy to manage the growing population, including sorting offenders by risk to the public safety, basing intervention programs on science, harnessing technology, imposing swift and certain sanctions, creating incentives for success, and measuring progress.
The US currently has the highest inmate population in the world with the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) [official website] reporting last month a total of 2.3 million adults [text, PDF] in prison for 2007. A Pew Center report [report, PDF; JURIST report] released last year corroborates the BJS report and estimates China [official website] has the second largest inmate population with 1.5 million. The rising number of inmates has long been a major concern within the US as the current prison population was reported in 2007 to be eight times [JURIST report] the number in 1970.