Lecture, 1/ 27/10
The U.S. has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world, 686 out 100,000,
average crime rate.
With so many of our citizens in prison compared with the rest of the world, there
are only two possibilities: Either we are home to the most evil people on earth or we are
doing something different–and vastly counterproductive.” Sen. Jim Webb
Taxpayers, Offenders, Offender’s Families,
Joblessness of former inmates
Normalization of prison experience
Costs to community as a whole
Public good sacrificed for private security, Damage to liberal ideals
Human dignity, Liberty, Due process, Freedom from government
2008: $10 Billion yearly budget ($12 billion for higher education) Today: 11% of
state budget to prison, 7.5 to higher education. (Schwarzenegger)
About 166,000 persons incarcerated at a cost of around $49,000 per year.
Additional 320,000 in custody or on parole.
California has a recidivism rate of approximately 65%
California legislature has fought efforts to decrease inmate population, in spite of
a fiscal crisis of epic proportions, and federal
court order to reduce inmate population by
One of few states to cut prisons—15 in the last decade, 8 more planned for this
Parole rate up, recidivism and arrests down, Crime rate is 3% less than national
average and declined in all categories from 2007-08.
Texas: Justice Reinvestment Initiative