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Prison Building in the Bluegrass State Is Not Getting Results

Today the Pew Center on the States released a report on corrections in Kentucky:

http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/Kentucky_Brief_web.pdf?n=1455

The report finds that the Kentucky prison population is 45% larger than it was in 2000.  The U.S. state prison system population as a whole also grew during this period, but only by 13%.  In order to accomodate the exceptionally rapid growth in the prison population, corrections spending has increased by 338% in recent years.  Kentucky, however, does not seem to be getting the results it probably wants: “The state’s recidivism rate—the number of offenders who return to prison within three years of release—has actually increased slightly in the past several years, from 37 percent for offenders released in 1997 to 43 percent for those released in 2006.”

Corrections spending in Kentucky totaled $513 million in 2009, and state taxpayers are probably wondering what, exactly, they paid for last year — and the 10-20 years before that.

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