Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reducing Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates

Under current long-term forecasts, Washington State faces the need to construct several new prisons in the next two decades. Since new prisons are costly, the 2005 Washington Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to project whether there are “evidence-based” options that can:

  • a) reduce the future need for prison beds,
  • b) save money for state and local taxpayers, and
  • c) contribute to lower crime rates.

In October 2006, the WSIPP released its report titled Evidence-Based Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates. This report describes its findings and discusses how it conducted the analysis. It reviews evidence-based adult corrections, juvenile corrections, and prevention options and analyzes the effects of alternatives.

Other states, including Idaho, facing an apparent need to increase the number of prisons or expand existing ones or both, would benefit from studying this report as much for its methodology as for the data it presents.