Introducing The Right On Crime Podcast & Correctional Leadership Network
by Tonya KerrJuly 28, 2022
Prisons serve a critical role in society. In many cases – particularly cases of violent crime – the best way to handle criminal behavior is to incapacitate criminals by incarcerating them. Prisons are supremely important, but they are also a supremely expensive government program, and thus prison systems must be held to the highest standards of accountability.
One out of every one hundred adults in America is incarcerated, a total population of approximately 2.3 million. By contrast, according to a report published in The Economist, the number of imprisoned adults in America in 1970 was only one out of every 400. The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but 23% of the world’s reported prisoners. It is not clear, however, that these high rates of imprisonment are leading to safer communities. One study by two professors at Purdue University and Rutgers University has estimated that were we to increase incarceration by another ten percent, the subsequent reduction in crime would be only 0.5%. The state of Florida provides a useful example. Over the past thirteen years, the proportion of prisoners who were incarcerated for committing non-violent crimes rose by 189%. By contrast, the proportion of inmates who committed violent crimes dropped by 28%.
For this benefit, Americans are paying dearly – between $18,000 and $50,000 per prisoner per year depending upon the state. The nation is also reaching a point where it simply does not have the capacity for so much incarceration. In 2009, the number of federal inmates rose by 3.4%, and federal prisons are now 60% overcapacity.
These figures are not markers of success. Americans do not measure the success of welfare programs by maximizing the number of people who collect welfare checks. Instead, success is evaluated by counting how many people are able to get off welfare. Why not apply the same evaluation to prisons?
by Tonya KerrJuly 28, 2022
with Dan Sullivan, Chelsea Murphy, published by Tampa Bay TimesJuly 12, 2022
with Brett Tolman, Ja’Ron Smith, Tom GiovanettiMay 26, 2022
by Tonya Kerr, Chelsea MurphyMarch 15, 2022
by Tonya Kerr, Lars TrautmanFebruary 23, 2022
by Marilyn DavidsonFebruary 15, 2022
by Tonya KerrJanuary 12, 2022
by Michael HaugenJanuary 26, 2021
by Chelsea MurphyNovember 12, 2020
by Right on CrimeOctober 30, 2020
by Scott PeytonJune 5, 2020
by John KoufosJune 2, 2020
by Scott PeytonMarch 16, 2020
by Scott PeytonFebruary 12, 2020
by Right on CrimeFebruary 11, 2020
by Right on CrimeFebruary 5, 2020
by Aubrey Vaughan TravisJanuary 15, 2020
by Right on CrimeDecember 21, 2019
by Randy PetersenMay 10, 2019
by Greg GlodApril 30, 2019