Source: Center for Competitive Government (Temple University)
From press release (EurekAlert!):
As states continue to grapple with aging correctional facilities, overcrowding, underfunded retiree obligations and other constraints, new research from Temple University’s Center for Competitive Government finds that privately operated prisons can substantially cut costs – from 12 percent to 58 percent in long-term savings – while performing at equal or better levels than government-run prisons.
Temple economics Professors Simon Hakim and Erwin A. Blackstone analyzed government data from nine states that generally have higher numbers of privately held prisoners (Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas), and Maine, which does not contract its corrections services. The professors calculated both short- and long-run savings per state, finding that contracted prisons generate significant savings without sacrificing quality.
"Contracts between private-prison operators and state governments can be very precise in terms of the outcomes the state expects," said Hakim, director of Temple’s Center for Competitive Government, which is affiliated with the Fox School of Business. "And contractors have an incentive to overshoot the performance metrics established by the state – lest they lose out to a higher-performing company on the next contract bid."
The study uses economic models to determine each state’s avoidable costs, which are compared to the contracted per diem rates charged by the private operators. The study also takes into account underfunded pensions and retiree healthcare costs – a critical issue, with the Pew Center on the States reporting in 2010 of a $1.38 trillion gap between states’ assets and their pension and healthcare retiree obligations.
In California, for example, the researchers estimated that contracted prison facilities save between 32 percent and 58 percent. In Maine, estimated savings in the short run (including operational costs, such as personnel and medical and food services) is 47 percent while long-run savings (which combine short-run costs with capital expenditures, such as facility modernization and financing) is estimated at 49 percent. Researchers said Maine’s substantial estimated savings could be attributed to that state’s lack of private-public competition and its small prisons that cannot exploit economies of scale.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
This publication presents information from the National Prisoner Census about persons held in Australian prisons on the night of 30 June 2012. The National Prisoner Census covers all prisoners in the legal custody of adult corrective services in adult prisons, including periodic detainees in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. It excludes persons held in juvenile justice institutions, psychiatric custody and police custody. It is based on data extracted from administrative records held by the corrective services agencies in each Australian state and territory. These statistics provide a profile of the legal status, sentence details and demographic characteristics of Australian prisoners in the legal custody of adult prisons.
Users of this publication should note that it provides a statistical picture of the persons in prison at a point in time (30 June 2012), and does not represent the flow of prisoners during the year. The majority of prisoners in the annual Prisoner Census were serving long-term sentences for serious offences, whereas the flow of offenders in and out of prisons consists primarily of persons serving short sentences for lesser offences. Complementary information to this publication about Australian prisoners is available in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly publication, Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0).
Source: Sentencing Project
From 2000 to 2009 there was a dramatic shift in the racial composition of the women’s prison population. In 2000, African American women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women. By 2009, that disparity had dropped by half, to less than three times the white rate.
The factors contributing to these changes include: sharply reduced incarceration of African American women for drug offenses in some states; declining rates of arrest of black women for violent, property, and drug offenses; and, cumulative social disadvantages that are increasingly affecting less educated white women.
Recommendations for addressing these issues include conducting state-based analyses of racial disparity, enacting proactive racial impact statement legislation, and engaging practitioners in projects to reduce disparities in local jurisdictions.
At a time when limited government resources demand that the nation make the most of investments in social and education programs, policymakers increasingly need to make decisions on the basis of reliable evidence. MDRC has developed two-page memos for policymakers that suggest ways to make progress on critical issues. The first seven are below. Additional memos in the “Looking Forward” series will be released in the coming weeks.
How do we make the most of the promise of preschool, particularly as preschool programs become universal? How do we avoid the “fade out” of early positive effects as children transition to elementary school? This policy memo describes how enhancing children’s social and emotional development and their early math skills may be part of the answer.
Past and ongoing research offers direction for how to strengthen the most basic foundation for early childhood development: family relationships. This policy memo makes the case for building on this accumulating evidence to create new and innovative approaches to support children’s earliest years and the unique role of fathers.
Almost 7 million 16- to 24-year-olds are neither working nor in school. This policy memo argues that, while the research evidence on youth programs is mixed, there are some promising findings — and a resurgence in political interest — on which to build.
Too many community college students arrive on campus unprepared, get placed into developmental (or remedial) courses, and never complete a credential, graduate, or transfer to a four-year institution. This policy memo calls for bolder action to learn what works to improve developmental education.
America faces a two-pronged problem in higher education: increasing costs and low completion rates. This policy memo describes how offering financial aid that rewards academic progress may help students pay for college and complete their degrees more quickly.
Subsidized employment programs provide jobs to people who cannot find employment in the regular labor market and use public funds to pay all or some of their wages. This policy memo describes how these programs may be part of the answer for the long-term unemployed in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
The 700,000 incarcerated prisoners released each year face considerable obstacles to successfully reintegrating into their communities, and many return to prison. While state and federal agencies have mounted ambitious prisoner reentry initiatives, this policy memo explains that there is still much to learn about what works.
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance
This study found that a national sample of women in jails showed high rates of mental health problems, with a majority of the participants meeting diagnostic criteria for serious mental illness, lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or substance use disorder.
Source: PLoS ONE
We report the prevalence of penile implants among prisoners and determine the independent predictors for having penile implants. Questions on penile implants were included in the Sexual Health and Attitudes of Australian Prisoners (SHAAP) survey following concerns raised by prison health staff that increasing numbers of prisoners reported having penile implants while in prison.
Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) of a random sample of prisoners was carried out in 41 prisons in New South Wales and Queensland (Australia). Men were asked, “Have you ever inserted or implanted an object under the skin of your penis?” If they responded Yes: “Have you ever done so while you were in prison?” Univariate logistic regression and logistic regression were used to determine the factors associated with penile implants.
A total of 2,018 male prisoners were surveyed, aged between 18 and 65 years, and 118 (5.8%) reported that they had inserted or implanted an object under the skin of their penis. Of these men, 87 (73%) had this done while they were in prison. In the multivariate analysis, a younger age, birth in an Asian country, and prior incarceration were all significantly associated with penile implants (p<0.001). Men with penile implants were also more likely to report being paid for sex (p<0.001), to have had body piercings (p<0.001) or tattoos in prison (p<0.001), and to have taken non-prescription drugs while in prison (p<0.05).
Penile implants appear to be fairly common among prisoners and are associated with risky sexual and drug use practices. As most of these penile implants are inserted in prison, these men are at risk of blood borne viruses and wound infection. Harm reduction and infection control strategies need to be developed to address this potential risk.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
Presents data on prisoners under the jurisdiction of federal and state correctional authorities on December 31, 2011, collected from the National Prisoner Statistics series. The report compares changes in the prison population during 2011 to changes from yearend 2000 through yearend 2010. It explores factors leading to the second straight year of decline in the state prison population, as well as continued growth in the federal prison population. Findings cover data on decreasing admissions and releases in state prisons; imprisonment rates for prisoners sentenced to more than one year, by jurisdiction, age, race, Hispanic origin, sex, and offense distributions of prisoners; and the contribution of California’s new Public Safety Realignment policy on the national state prison population.
- During 2011, the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities declined by 0.9%, from 1,613,803 to 1,598,780.
- The number of sentenced prisoners under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2011 increased by 6,409 inmates (up 3.4%) from 2010.
- During 2011, the number of releases from state and federal prisons (688,384) exceeded the number of admissions (668,800).
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
Presents national and state-level data on the number of inmate deaths that occurred in local jails and state prisons, and includes aggregated data on deaths in federal prisons. The report presents findings by year from 2000 to 2010 and analyzes 11-year trends in deaths in custody. It provides mortality rates per 100,000 inmates in custody in jail or prison, details cause of death (including deaths attributed to homicide, suicide, illness, intoxication, and accidental injury), and describes decedents’ characteristics (including age, race/Hispanic origin, sex, legal status, and time served). Data sources include the Bureau of Justice Statistics’s Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP), initiated in 2000 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (P.L. 106–297), and National Prisoner Statistics series.
- The number of inmates who died while in the custody of local jails declined in 2010, falling to 918 from the 951 deaths in 2009, representing the third consecutive annual decrease since the number of jail deaths peaked at 1,100 in 2007.
- In 2010, males accounted for nearly 9 out of 10 jail inmate deaths (88%). In any single year between 2000 and 2010, males accounted for no less than 87% of jail deaths.
- California, Texas, New York, and Florida together reported about a third of jail deaths in 2010. These states also had the largest jail populations, comprising 32% of the total jail population in 2010.
- The number of inmates who died while in the custody of state prisons declined from 3,414 in 2009 to 3,232 in 2010, for a total decrease of 5%, which is the largest decline in the number of prison deaths since the DCRP began collecting prisoner mortality data in 2001.
- In 2010, males accounted for nearly all prisoner deaths (96%). In any single year between 2001 and 2010, males accounted for no less than 95% of prison deaths.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
Presents data on state corrections expenditures from fiscal years 1982 to 2010. This bulletin examines trends in state corrections spending for building and operating institutions and for other corrections functions. The report also details institutional operating expenditures per inmate over the study period. It compares trends in state corrections expenditures with state spending for public welfare, education, health and hospitals, and highways. Data are drawn from the Census Bureau’s State Government Finance Survey, which collects information on state expenditures and revenues, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Prisoner Statistics, which collects information on state prison populations.
- Preliminary data from the Census Bureau’s annual State Government Finance Census indicate states spent $48.5 billion on corrections in 2010, about 6% less than in 2009. By comparison, states spent $571.3 billion on education in 2010 and $462.7 billion on public welfare.
- From 1999 to 2010, among 48 states, 11 states showed a linear decrease in current operations expenditures per inmate, with an average annual decline of $1,093; 5 states had a linear increase, with an average annual additional cost per inmate of $1,277.
- The mean state corrections expenditure per inmate was $28,323 in 2010, although a quarter of states spent $40,175 or more.
Source: Frontiers in Forensic Psychiatry
Incarceration affects the lives of many African American men and often leads to poverty, ill health, violence, and a decreased quality of life. There has been an unprecedented increase in incarceration among African American males since 1970. In 2009, the incarceration rate among black males was 6.7 times that of white males and 2.6 times of Hispanic males. Substance abuse in African American males leads to higher mortality rates, high rates of alcohol-related problems, more likely to be victims of crimes, and HIV/AIDS. African Americans comprised only 14% of the U.S. population but comprised 38% of the jail population. The cost of incarcerating persons involved in substance related crimes has increased considerably over the past two decades in the U.S. A reduction in the incarceration rate for non-violent offences would save an estimated $17 billion per year. Substance use disorder makes the individual more prone to polysubstance use and leads to impulse control problems, selling drugs, and other crimes. The high rate of incarceration in U.S. may adversely affect health care, the economy of the country, and will become a burden on society. Implementation of good mental health care, treatment of addiction during and after incarceration will help to decrease the chances of reoffending. Therapeutic community programs with prison-based and specialized treatment facilities, cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for 91–180 days, and 12-step orientation with staff specialized in substance abuse can be helpful. It is essential for health care professionals to increase public awareness of substance abuse and find ways to decrease the high rates of incarceration.
See: Systematic Incarceration of African American Males Is a Wrong, Costly Path (Science Daily)
LGBTI: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Offenders (Selected Resources for Criminal Justice Professionals)
LGBTI: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Offenders (Selected Resources for Criminal Justice Professionals) (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Corrections
This annotated bibliography has been developed in an effort to provide current and useful information to correctional agencies regarding the safe and respectful management of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) offenders. Relying on a best practices approach, this information will enable corrections staff to make better informed decisions about the safety, security, treatment and care of LGBTI offenders by providing academic, cultural and legal perspectives of the issues that make this group unique.
Surveys conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that non-heterosexual adult offenders report higher rates of sexual victimization while in custody. Similar surveys in juvenile facilities show even higher rates of sexual victimization among non-heterosexual juvenile offenders. Similarly, a 2009 research report cited findings that transgender offenders experienced sexual victimization at a rate thirteen times higher than a random sampling of offenders in the same facility.
Such evidence indicates that LGBTI offenders are at increased risk for sexual victimization while in custody, and agencies that ignore this may be placing themselves at risk for litigation. Changes in federal and state legislation, court decisions, settlement agreements and the proposed standards under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) are all factors for consideration in the management of LGBTI offenders in correctional settings. For example, the proposed PREA standards contain requirements for agencies to conduct staff training on effective and respectful communication with LGBTI offenders and to enhance sexual abuse prevention measures that specifically address this population.
We are confident you can obtain these resources either through the Internet, the NIC Information Center, the authors, or by ordering them. We invite contributions to this list, as well as additions submitted material to the NIC Library, such as articles and training resources.
Growing Up Locked Down – Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States
Source: American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch
Every day, in jails and prisons across the United States, young people under the age of 18 are held in solitary confinement. They spend 22 or more hours each day alone, usually in a small cell behind a solid steel door, completely isolated both physically and socially, often for days, weeks, or even months on end. Sometimes there is a window allowing natural light to enter or a view of the world outside cell walls. Sometimes it is possible to communicate by yelling to other inmates, with voices distorted, reverberating against concrete and metal. Occasionally, they get a book or bible, and if they are lucky, study materials. But inside this cramped space, few contours distinguish one hour, one day, week, or one month, from the next.
A new report from the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, “Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States,” is based on interviews and correspondence with more than 125 young people in 19 states who spent time in solitary confinement while under age 18 as well as with jail and/or prison officials in 10 states.
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
Foodborne botulism is a rare, potentially fatal paralytic illness caused by eating food contaminated by Clostridium botulinum toxin. It occurs most often as a single case not linked to others by a common food source. As a result of improvements in food canning, when outbreaks do occur, they typically involve fewer than five persons. During October 2–4 2011, eight maximum security inmates at the Utah State Prison in Salt Lake County were diagnosed with foodborne botulism. An investigation by Salt Lake Valley Heath Department, Utah Department of Health, and CDC identified pruno, an illicit alcoholic brew, as the vehicle. The principal ingredients in pruno are fruit, sugar, and water. Many additional ingredients, including root vegetables, are sometimes added, depending on the availability of foods in prison. A baked potato saved from a meal served weeks earlier and added to the pruno was the suspected source of C. botulinum spores. Many of the affected inmates suffered severe morbidity, and some required prolonged hospitalizations. Knowing the link between pruno and botulism might help public health and correctional authorities prevent future outbreaks, respond quickly with appropriate health-care to inmates with acute descending paralysis and/or other symptoms, and reduce associated treatment costs to states.
New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Airport Noise Grants: FAA Needs to Better Ensure Project Eligibility and Improve Strategic Goal and Performance Measures. GAO-12-890, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648149.pdf
2. Asset Forfeiture Programs: Justice and Treasury Should Determine Costs and Benefits of Potential Consolidation. GAO-12-972, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648097.pdf
4. Bureau of Prisons: Growing Inmate Crowding Negatively Affects Inmates, Staff, and Infrastructure. GAO-12-743, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648124.pdf
5. Critical Infrastructure: DHS Needs to Refocus Its Efforts to Lead the Government Facilities Sector. GAO-12-852, August 20.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593580.pdf
6. Department of Homeland Security: Oversight and Coordination of Research and Development Should Be Strengthened. GAO-12-837, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648153.pdf
7. Federal Disaster Assistance: Improved Criteria Needed to Assess a Jurisdiction’s Capability to Respond and Recover on Its Own. GAO-12-838, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648163.pdf
8. Iraq and Afghanistan: Agencies Are Taking Steps to Improve Data on Contracting but Need to Standardize Reporting. GAO-12-977R, September 12.
9. Military Training: DOD Met Annual Reporting Requirements and Improved Its Sustainable Ranges Report. GAO-12-879R, September 12.
10. Millennium Challenge Corporation: Results of Transportation Infrastructure Projects in Seven Countries. GAO-12-631, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648093.pdf
11. Nonproliferation: Agencies Could Improve Information Sharing and End-Use Monitoring on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Exports. GAO-12-536, July 30.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593132.pdf
1. Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: Observations on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Oversight of Safety, Security, and Project Management, by Mark Gaffigan, managing director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-12-912T, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592773.pdf
2. Next Generation Air Transportation System: FAA Faces Implementation Challenges, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Aviation, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-12-1011T, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648121.pdf
3. Operational Contract Support: Sustained DOD Leadership Needed to Better Prepare for Future Contingencies, by Timothy J. DiNapoli, acting director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the House Committee on Armed Services. GAO-12-1026T, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648106.pdf
New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Border Security: State Could Enhance Visa Fraud Prevention by Strategically Using Resources and Training. GAO-12-888, September 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/647872.pdf
2. Defense Logistics: Space-Available Travel Challenges May Be Exacerbated If Eligibility Expands. GAO-12-924R, September 10.
3. Defense Management: The Department of Defense’s Annual Corrosion Budget Report Does Not Include Some Required Information. GAO-12-823R, September 10.
5. Federal Protective Service: Actions Needed to Assess Risk and Better Manage Contract Guards at Federal Facilities. GAO-12-739, August 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593510.pdf
6. Homeland Security: DHS Has Enhanced Procurement Oversight Efforts, but Needs to Update Guidance. GAO-12-947, September 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/647866.pdf
7. Military Dependent Students: Better Oversight Needed to Improve Services for Children with Special Needs. GAO-12-680, September 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/647846.pdf
8. Reemployment of Retirees: Six Agencies’ Use of Dual Compensation Waiver Authority is Limited. GAO-12-855R, September 10.
9. VA Disability Compensation: Actions Needed to Address Hurdles Facing Program Modernization. GAO-12-846, September 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/647878.pdf
1. Compact of Free Association: Proposed U.S. Assistance to Palau through Fiscal Year 2024. GAO-12-798T, September 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/647888.pdf
Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms
Source: Pew Center on the States
Over the past 40 years, criminal justice policy in the U.S. was shaped by the belief that the best way to protect the public was to put more people in prison. Offenders, the reasoning went, should spend longer and longer time behind bars.
Consequently, offenders have been spending more time in prison. According to a new study by Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, the length of time served in prison has increased markedly over the last two decades. Prisoners released in 2009 served an average of nine additional months in custody, or 36 percent longer, than offenders released in 1990.
Those extended prison sentences came at a price: prisoners released from incarceration in 2009 cost states $23,300 per offender–or a total of over $10 billion nationwide. More than half of that amount was for non-violent offenders.
The report, Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms, also found that time served for drug offenses and violent offenses grew at nearly the same pace from 1990 to 2009. Drug offenders served 36 percent longer in 2009 than those released in 1990, while violent offenders served 37 percent longer. Time served for inmates convicted of property crimes increased by 24 percent.
Almost all states increased length of stay over the last two decades, though that varied widely from state to state. In Florida, for example, where time served rose most rapidly, prison terms grew by 166 percent and cost an extra $1.4 billion in 2009.
Public Opinion on Sentencing and Corrections Policy in America (PDF)
Source: Pew Center on the States
1. American voters believe too many people are in prison and the nation spends too much on imprisonment.
2. Voters overwhelmingly support a variety of policy changes that shift non-violent offenders from prison to more effective, less expensive alternatives.
3. Support for sentencing and corrections reforms (including reduced prison terms) is strong across political parties, regions, age, gender, and racial/ethnic groups.
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. TANF Electronic Benefit Cards: Some States Are Restricting Certain TANF Transactions, but Challenges Remain. GAO-12-535, July 20.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592788.pdf
2. Software Development: Effective Practices and Federal Challenges in Applying Agile Methods. GAO-12-681, July 27.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593092.pdf
3. Federal Bureau of Prisons: Methods for Estimating Incarceration and Community Corrections Costs and Results of the Elderly Offender Pilot. GAO-12-807R, July 27.
4. Information Technology Cost Estimation: Agencies Need to Address Significant Weaknesses in Policies and Practices. GAO-12-629, July 11.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592274.pdf
Shackling of pregnant women and girls in correctional systems (PDF)
Source: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Contrary to official records and statistics, a large number of girls involved in the justice system have been pregnant. In a study of girls in Florida, according to case review data, 8% reported pregnancy in their lifetime. However, when girls were interviewed, 24% reported they had been pregnant (Acoca & Dedel, 1998). Other studies corroborate these findings and demonstrate that of the almost 30% of girls who reported lifetime pregnancy, 16% had been pregnant while incarcerated. Teen pregnancy presents a number of challenges, which increase exponentially for females who are incarcerated. One of the most archaic and dangerous practices includes the shackling of pregnant girls and women. Though outlawed in several states, there exists no legislation to prohibit the use of physical restraints on pregnant women even when in the third trimester in the State of Florida. Twenty-nine percent of girls reported that they had been shackled at the ankles and wrists while pregnant (Acoca, 2004). This practice should be banned for all females who are in custody.