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Publication State Corrections Expenditures, FY 1982-2010

Tracey Kyckelhahn

December 10, 2012    NCJ 239672

Presents data on state corrections expenditures from fiscal years 1982 to 2010. This bulletin examines trends in state corrections spending for building and operating institutions and for other corrections functions. The report also details institutional operating expenditures per inmate over the study period. It compares trends in state corrections expenditures with state spending for public welfare, education, health and hospitals, and highways. Data are drawn from the Census Bureau's State Government Finance Survey, which collects information on state expenditures and revenues, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Prisoner Statistics, which collects information on state prison populations.

Highlights:

  • Preliminary data from the Census Bureau's annual State Government Finance Census indicate states spent $48.5 billion on corrections in 2010, about 6% less than in 2009. By comparison, states spent $571.3 billion on education in 2010 and $462.7 billion on public welfare.
  • From 1999 to 2010, among 48 states, 11 states showed a linear decrease in current operations expenditures per inmate, with an average annual decline of $1,093; 5 states had a linear increase, with an average annual additional cost per inmate of $1,277.
  • The mean state corrections expenditure per inmate was $28,323 in 2010, although a quarter of states spent $40,175 or more.

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