• The Cost of Crime: Could The State Reduce Future Crime and Save Money by Expanding Education and Treatment Programs ?

      Martin, Stephanie; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      Alaska’s prison population is among the fastest-growing in the U.S., with five times more inmates in 2007 than in 1981. Spending for the state justice system has nearly doubled since 1981—but the crime rate has dropped only about 30%. Here’s the dilemma for the state, given the pattern shown in Figure 1: what can it do to hold down the number of inmates and stem the rising costs—while at the same time keeping the public safe and using tax dollars effectively? Senator Hollis French asked ISER to project growth in the number of Alaska inmates and the associated costs—and then evaluate whether the state could reduce that growth by expanding intervention and prevention programs for people already in prison or at risk of ending up there. Alaska currently spends about $17 million a year for such programs, but they aren’t available to many of those who might benefit from them.