A June study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research examines the high cost of prison incarceration in the U.S., which has the highest incarceration rate of any country on earth—we have 753 people in prison per 100,000 population; the next highest country, Poland, has an incarceration rate of just 224. The study recommends that the incarceration rate of non-violent offenders, who represent 60 percent of the prison population, be reduced by half, which would lower correctional costs for state and local governments by $7.6 billion per year. The federal government could save an additional $7.2 billion annually.
Hat Tip: Bruce Bartlett blogging at Fiscal Times.
More than a decade ago, Jacob Sullum looked at the plight of non-violent drug offenders, whom many criminologists refuse to believe exist. They do, and their lives are hell because of an ineffective drug war. Read about it here.