NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 14, 2007

The number of inmates in U.S. prisons likely will rise nearly 13 percent during the next five years, costing states up to $27.5 billion in new operating and construction expenses, according to a new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

According to the report:

  • The nation's prison population will be about 1.72 million by 2011, up from an estimated 1.53 million at the end of last year; such an increase would roughly equal the current population of the federal prison system.
  • The projected prison costs over the next five years are a "staggering" $27.5 billion -- nearly half the amount now spent on American prisons each year.
  • The number of female inmates will rise at a faster rate (16 percent) than males (12 percent).

Among the other findings:

  • By 2011, Florida's prison system is expected to become the third state system to surpass 100,000 inmates, joining California and Texas; California's projected inmate population for 2011 is 188,772; Texas' is 166,327.
  • In Louisiana, which has the nation's highest rate of incarceration with 835 prisoners per 100,000 residents, the incarceration rate is projected to reach 859 by 2011.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the more than 600,000 people admitted to prison each year have failed to satisfy terms of probation or parole.

Source: Kevin Johnson, "Study predicts rise in inmate populations," USA Today, February 13, 2007.

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