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National Picture of Prison Downsizing Strategies

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2015
19 pages
Since many States faced fiscal pressures on their corrections budgets as the Country entered a deep recession in 2008, this article presents findings from a 2011 survey by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) that asked corrections officials in all 50 States about changes in correctional facilities, focusing on closures, new facilities, and altering existing facilities as a response to budget pressures.
The survey findings indicate that States used a combination of these strategies. Between fiscal year (FY) 2007–2008 and FY 2011–2012, 148 facilities were closed, 29 new facilities were opened, and 23 States added 22,740 beds to existing facilities, resulting in about a 19,000 net bed reduction overall. Closures were not necessarily related to fiscal pressures or always related to reductions in the prison population. Despite the Great Recession, correctional funding is still a large part of State expenses, and many States’ correctional populations continue to grow. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: October 1, 2015