Magazine article Corrections Forum

Mass. Correctional Expenditures Rise, While Inmate Numbers Decrease

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Mass. Correctional Expenditures Rise, While Inmate Numbers Decrease

Article excerpt

Massachusetts is spending more on its county jails and state prisons, despite the fact that there are fewer inmates in them, according to a new report.

Released in May, the report from the nonpartisan think tank Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC) found that overall spending on correctional facilities has increased by 18 percent over the past five years, while the population in these facilities has dropped by 12 percent.

The Bay State spent $181 million more on its county jails and state prisons in fiscal year 2016 than it did in fiscal year 2011, according to the report. These facilities, however, held 2,900 fewer people over this time. Spending per each inmate rose 34 percent, says the report, which was done in partnership with the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

Rising employee wages and new hiring is the primary cause of spending growth. In fact, the report found that employee compensation accounted for 84 percent of the overall spending increase.

In fact, the 18 percent growth rate for state and county correctional facilities was more than 1.5 times faster than the rate of increase for state K-12 education aid, and twice the pace of growth for general local aid. …

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