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"Under the landmark 1976 Estelle v. Gamble decision, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that prisoners have a constitutional right to adequate medical attention and concluded that the Eighth Amendment is violated when corrections officials display “deliberate indifference” to an inmate’s medical needs. The manner in which states manage prison health care services that meet these legal requirements affects not only inmates’ health, but also the public’s health and safety and taxpayers’ total corrections bill. Effectively treating inmates’ physical and mental illnesses, including substance use disorders, improves their well-being and can reduce the likelihood that they will commit new crimes or violate probation once released" (p. 1). Sections included in this report are: overview; spending trends; distribution of spending; spending drivers; cost-containment strategies; and conclusion. Also provided are the following report charts: Total Prison Health Care Spending Grew; Peaked in 34 States Before 2011; Components of Prison Health Care Spending; State and Federal Prisoners 55 and Older Increased by 204%; Share of Older Inmates in State Prisons Varied; Per-inmate Spending Higher in States with Older Inmate Populations. Correctional health care spending rose 13%. Due to the decrease in prison populations, per-inmate costs increased 10%. The statewide growth in the elderly inmate population caused those states with more senior inmates (per total inmate population) to have higher per-inmate costs.

State Prison Health Care Spending: An Examination cover

This is required reading for those people striving to reform the correctional system in the United States, criminology students, or anyone concerned with issues related to confinement. The focal point of this website is an excellent graphic illustrating how the incarceration rates for each individual U.S. state compare to those rates belonging to a wide range of nations (having total populations of at least 500,000 individuals). It definitively shows that the use of incarceration by individual states dwarfs the utilization of imprisonment around the world. "If we compare the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states and territories with that of other nations, for example, we see that 36 states and the District of Columbia have incarceration rates higher than that of Cuba, which is the nation with the second highest incarceration rate in the world … The two U.S. states that incarcerate the least are Maine and Vermont, but even those two states incarcerate far more than the United States' closest allies."

States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2016 Cover

Feedback from four executive level regional workshops regarding the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is reported. Extended responses from groups of executive-level administrators and policy makers representing community corrections, prisons, jails, and juvenile justice follow an executive summary. Comments are organized according to the four roundtable groups mentioned above on following themes: critical issues currently faced in the successful implementation of PREA; barriers and obstacles which may be encountered in the implementation of the elements of PREA; and the kind of support that would be helpful from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the other federal partners.


The relationship between religious conversion in correctional facilities and terrorist recruitment (radicalization) is examined. Five chapters follow an executive summary: religious conversion and prisoner radicalization; methods and context; religious conversion in prison -- crisis converts, protection-seekers, the searchers, manipulating converts, free-world recruited converts, and the influence of chaplains; the terrorist threat; and conclusions and recommendations. "The study's main conclusion is that the danger to U.S. security is not the number of adherents to Islam, or to white supremacy religions, but in the potential for small groups of true believers to instigate terrorist acts upon their release from custody" (p. 5-6).

Terrorist Recruitment in American Correctional Institutions:  An Exploratory Study of Non-Traditional Faith Groups Cover

The influence visitation has on the recidivism of visited prisoners is examined. Sections of this report include: research summary; introduction; prison visitation policies; reentry and social support; prison visitation research; methodology; results for descriptive statistics, impact of visitation on time to first felony reconviction, impact of visitation on time to first revocation, and impact of inmate-visitor relationship on time to first reconviction; conclusion; and implications for correctional policy and practice. Visitation has a significant effect on recidivism. “Any visit reduced the risk of recidivism by 13 percent for felony reconvictions and 25 percent for technical violation revocations, which reflects the fact that visitation generally had a greater impact on revocations. The findings further showed that more frequent and recent visits were associated with a decreased risk of recidivism” (p. 27).

The Effects of Prison Visitation on Offender Recidivism Cover

"After decades of stability from the 1920s to the early 1970s, the rate of imprisonment in the United States more than quadrupled during the last four decades. The U.S. penal population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world. Just under one-quarter of the world's prisoners are held in American prisons. The U.S. rate of incarceration, with nearly 1 out of every 100 adults in prison or jail, is 5 to 10 times higher than the rates in Western Europe and other democracies. The U.S. prison population is largely drawn from the most disadvantaged part of the nation's population: mostly men under age 40, disproportionately minority, and poorly educated. Prisoners often carry additional deficits of drug and alcohol addictions, mental and physical illnesses, and lack of work preparation or experience. The growth of incarceration in the United States during four decades has prompted numerous critiques and a growing body of scientific knowledge about what prompted the rise and what its consequences have been for the people imprisoned, their families and communities, and for U.S. society. [The report] examines research and analysis of the dramatic rise of incarceration rates and its affects. This study makes the case that the United States has gone far past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by social benefits and has reached a level where these high rates of incarceration themselves constitute a source of injustice and social harm."

Chapters following an executive summary are: introduction; rising incarceration rates; policies and practices contributing to high rates of incarceration; the underlying causes of rising incarceration—crime, politics, and social change; the crime prevention effects of incarceration; the experience of imprisonment; consequences for health and mental health; consequences for employment and earnings; consequences for families and children; consequences for communities; wider consequences for U.S. society; the prison in society—values and principles; findings, conclusions, and implications.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences Cover
Recognizing the importance of effective reentry practices at the federal, state, and local levels, in September 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) co-sponsored the National Reentry Symposium: Promising Practices and Future Directions.Throughout the two-day session, federal and state representatives from each of the BOP’s six national regions met as teams to discuss methods to enhance federal and state collaborative efforts within their regions.The culmination of the Symposium was the development of regionally based reentry action plans designed to reduce the likelihood of recidivism through improved coordination and collaboration and the delivery of enhanced evidence-based programs and services. This report is a summary of that meeting. 
The Reentry of Formerly Incarcerated Persons Cover

“Prisons and jails have become America’s “new asylums”: The number of individuals with serious mental illness in prisons and jails now exceeds the number in state psychiatric hospitals tenfold. Most of the mentally ill individuals in prisons and jails would have been treated in the state psychiatric hospitals in the years before the deinstitutionalization movement led to the closing of the hospitals, a trend that continues even today. The treatment of mentally ill individuals in prisons and jails is critical, especially since such individuals are vulnerable and often abused while incarcerated. Untreated, their psychiatric illness often gets worse, and they leave prison or jail sicker than when they entered. Individuals in prison and jails have a right to receive medical care, and this right pertains to serious mental illness just as it pertains to tuberculosis, diabetes, or hypertension. This right to treatment has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court … [this report] is the first national survey of such treatment practices. It focuses on the problem of treating seriously mentally ill inmates who refuse treatment, usually because they lack awareness of their own illness and do not think they are sick. What are the treatment practices for these individuals in prisons and jails in each state? What are the consequences if such individuals are not treated?” (p. 6). This publication is divided into four parts: history of the problem—whether we have learned anything in 200 years; legal background for treating mentally ill persons in prisons and jails; the state survey results; and findings and recommendations.

The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey cover

If you are looking for an excellent primer on the use of incarceration in the United States, you need to read this. "Over the last three decades of the 20th century, the United States engaged in an unprecedented prison-building boom that has given our nation the highest incarceration rate in the world. Among people with experience in criminal justice policy matters, the “hockey stick curve” of the national incarceration rate is well known; but until now more detailed data on the incarceration rates for individual states has been harder to come by. This briefing fills the gap with a series of more than 100 graphs showing prison growth (and sometimes decline) for every state in the nation to encourage states to confront how their criminal policy choices undermine our national welfare." The webpage explains with text and easily understood graphics: state policies that drive mass incarceration; what's the critical difference between incarceration rates and incarceration numbers; state prison incarceration rates for select states and overall; and state prison incarceration states by region (greater use to least)—south, west, midwest, and northeast.

This brief refers to the "50 State Incarceration Profiles" interactive map which is a great resource for seeing how the incarceration rate has grown over time and what racial disparities exist for each state.

Tracking State Prison Growth in 50 States Cover

"Our comparative analysis of U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2014 reveals broad variation in nationwide incarceration trends. While 39 states have experienced a decline since reaching their peak prison populations within the past 15 years, in most states this decline has been relatively modest. In addition, 11 states have had continuing rises in imprisonment. These developments suggest that while the recent national decline in the prison population is encouraging, any significant decarceration will require more sustained attention. In this regard, 12 states have produced double-digit declines for some period since 1999, led by New Jersey (31%), New York (28%), Rhode Island (25%), and California (22%). Notably, these states have achieved substantial reductions with no adverse effect on public safety. Among states with rising prison populations, four have experienced double-digit increases, led by Nebraska and Arkansas, whose respective prisons populations grew by 22% and 18% since 2009. Despite sharing in the national crime drop, these states have resisted the trend toward decarceration" (website).

U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2014 Cover


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