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Statistics - Statistics - State

The 50-State Report on Public Safety is a web-based resource that combines data analyses with practical examples to help policymakers craft impactful strategies to address their state’s specific public safety challenges. The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center analyzed millions of data points, and with support from the Association of State Correctional Administrators, interviewed corrections staff in all 50 states to collect new data on each state’s research capacity and supervision practices for use in this first-of-its-kind resource.

This report is part of a series of annual comparative data reports presented to the Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). The information contained in this report is organized into ten sections, namely: Inmate Population Trends and Incarceration Rates; Prison and Jail Capacities, Budgetary Issues; Staffing Patterns and Select Inmate Characteristics; Projected Costs of New Prisons; Probation and Parole; Rehabilitation; Prison Industries; Privatization; and State Profiles. Each section of the report includes a summary of key findings, statistical tables and figures based on survey research involving each member state in the SLC. The fifteen states that make up the SLC are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

This study examined the proliferation of homelessness among those in the criminal justice system by  administering questionnaires to a sample of inmates in the following seven jails: Arapahoe, Denver (city  and county jails), El Paso, Larimer, Mesa, and Pueblo. Questionnaires were administered to 507 jail  inmates who agreed to participate in the study, representing a response rate of 83.4%. Among those  surveyed, 297 of 488 who answered the question identified as homeless (60.8%), however, the study  design intentionally over sampled homeless respondents.  Homelessness was defined as, in the past 30 days, living on the street, outdoors, in an abandoned  building, shelter, living free with family/friends, or living in a motel.   Data were collected between June 12, 2017 and October 22, 2017 at the seven jail facilities.  

"The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), pursuant to 24 33.5-503(m), C.R.S., is mandated to prepare correctional population projections for the Legislative Council and the General Assembly. Per statute, DCJ has prepared projections of these populations since the mid-1980s. This report presents forecasts for the Colorado adult prison and parole populations and for the Colorado juvenile commitment, detention and parole populations based on population trends as of December, 2016.

The adult prison and parole forecasts estimate the size of these populations across the upcoming seven years. Also included are estimates regarding average length of stay for future populations, which are used to calculate cost savings resulting from proposed legislation and policy changes. The juvenile commitment, detention and parole forecasts estimate the average daily populations over the upcoming five years."

"A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation."

Corrections is worth one-half of the weight in ranking the Best States for crime & corrections. This subcategory is further broken into five metrics: incarceration rate, juvenile incarceration, racial equality in jailing, three-year recidivism rate and sexual violence in prisons. Corrections, including prisons, parole, juvenile and other programs, cost billions of dollars a year, with state and local spending increasing at triple the rate of public elementary and secondary education funding. The efficiency of a state’s corrections system shows how a state handles crime and public safety.

The two Best States for corrections are New Hampshire and Maine, which both also rank in the top three for safety. New Hampshire also ranks in the top 10 overall, as do Massachusetts and Utah, the fourth and fifth Best States for corrections, respectively. Four of the top 5 Best States for corrections are in New England or the Far West, and Pennsylvania and South Dakota are the worst states for corrections.

After bipartisan law passed in 2015, state’s prison population dropped 9%

From 2004 to 2013, Utah’s prison population rose by 19 percent, five times the national average. Without changes to policies and practices, the state projected additional growth of 37 percent at a cost to taxpayers of $500 million over 20 years. Seeking to safely reverse this trend, lawmakers passed comprehensive criminal justice reform in 2015. The law prioritized prison space for people convicted of serious and violent offenses, strengthened community supervision, improved and expanded re-entry and treatment services, and provided oversight of the legislation’s implementation. Since then, the state has reinvested over $35 million in evidence based treatment and other alternatives to incarceration, and its prison population has declined. The state’s overall crime rate decreased 13 percent in the decade before the legislation was passed (2006-15) and continued to fall in the first year after reform (2016), dropping another 1 percent.

Florida policy makers should be able to answer how well fundamental characteristics of Florida’s prison system — high incarceration rates, poor public safety returns, and enormous public expenditures — meet rigorous standards for both safety and cost-efficiency. Do the current investments, practices, and policy strategies employed by our state’s criminal justice and correctional systems result in the returns Floridians expect and deserve?

It is possible to reengineer the prison system. A smaller system that judiciously reserved incarceration only for the purpose of incapacitating dangerous individuals would face far fewer challenges and accomplish better results. Achieving a better system will require sustained, purposeful, and systemic reform.   As this report shows, previous adjustments in attempts to reduce the impacts of Florida’s criminal justice system were either too limited or too fleeting to overcome the forces of inefficiency that led to growth of our prisons. Given early discussions by the Florida Legislature, coupled with heightened attention to the continuing problems faced by the prison system, we are hopeful that the 2018 Legislative Session will be a notable line in Florida’s history — a place where we depart from historical inertia and growth and instead turn to rightsizing our state’s prison system. Florida can join our neighboring states — every single state that surrounds us and many more — and take deliberate steps toward more rational criminal justice policies and practices.

We urge Florida leaders to begin to unravel the policies and practices that grow the prison population without making us safer. First and foremost, we urge Florida’s decision makers to embrace potential changes with more transparency and full accountability. This can be done with rigorous, relevant, and sustained oversight and data collection and evaluation.

"The Research and Evaluation Center conducts applied research and evaluation projects that examine critical criminal and juvenile justice topics and criminal justice program implementation and outcomes in Illinois. Staff collect data through multiple research methods, conduct advanced statistical analyses, and summarize findings in publications that aim to inform policy and practice. The center also conducts presentations and offers technical assistance to help state and local programs and initiatives use data to inform and improve their work."

"Justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach to criminal justice reform designed to examine and address correctional cost and population drivers to generate cost savings that can be reinvested in high-performing public safety strategies. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) state data tracker provides information on system-level indicators such as prison, probation, and parole populations and overall state savings and reinvestment. Although these indicators track trends on key JRI objectives, accurate interpretation requires careful consideration of contextual factors, as changes in these measures are affected by a wide range of policies and practices that extend beyond the reforms passed during JRI engagement."

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