Urban Institute Recommends Front- and Back- End Changes to Reduce Federal Prison Growth
BOP system, as it stands today, called “unsustainable”
In its new report “The Growth & Increasing Cost of the Federal Prison System: Drivers and Potential Solutions” the Urban Institute calls the federal prison system “unsustainable.”
Highlights from the report by Nancy La Vigne and Julie Samuels depict a system that is bleeding the Department of Justice budget and creating potentially dangerous conditions due to overcrowding. The report cites areas of concern:
Fiscal impact. Resources spent on the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) eclipse other budget priorities.
Overcrowding risks. Overcrowded facilities can jeopardize the safety of inmates and staff and limit opportunities for effective programming that can reduce recidivism.
Fairness/equity concerns. High levels of incarceration may have disproportionate impacts on certain subpopulations and communities.
Inefficient resource allocation. Current research and recent evidence-based policy changes implemented in states raise questions about the cost-effectiveness of existing federal sentencing and corrections policies.
The report recommends front-end changes that include decreasing the length of sentences, particularly for low-level drug offenses, to contain a further explosion in the federal prison population. Back-end changes that can reduce sentences and save money are also suggested.
“The Growth & Increasing Cost of the Federal Prison System: Drivers and Potential Solutions” provides a series of facts and charts that offer a detailed examination of the current state of the federal prison system and provides suggestions on how the federal government can take action to untangle itself from ineffective and costly policies.