Tuesday, December 11, 2012

State corrections spending growth outpaced highways, health, education over last three decades

Yesterday the Bureau of Justice Statistics put out a new report titled "State Corrections Expenditures: FY, 1982-2010" (pdf), which included data in Appendix table 1 (p. 10) comparing state-level corrections spending over those 28 years to other categories of state spending. From those data, Grits compiled this table:

Growth in state corrections spending compared 
to other major spending categories, 1982 - 2010

So aggregate state corrections spending increased nationally at far greater rates than education, health or highway spending, according to these BJS data. (Here's the subset of data used for compiling the chart.)

FWIW, Grits had earlier calculated based on data from old appropriations bills that Texas' corrections spending grew at an even greater pace - about 274% more than inflation and population growth - over roughly the same period. (The BJS data are also inflation adjusted.)

These are the sort of on-the-ground budget facts which always come to mind when Grits hears Gov. Perry and others speak of amending the state constitution to ban spending hikes greater than the combined growth from population and inflation: Criminal justice spending of all types has grown so dramatically, so quickly, as a portion of the state budget and faces so many upward budget pressures - both practical and political - that it seems hard to take such statements seriously unless state budget writers suddenly get a lot more serious about reining in criminal justice spending in ways which have heretofore seemed politically implausible.


Anonymous said...

Any idea as to what the federal spending was in the same period? Seems like they have also gone mad.

Anonymous said...

God bless William Wayne Justice and Ann Richards!

Anonymous said...

Prison privatization has caused the increase in prison populations. ALEC legislation such as Arizona SB 1070 were written by Correctional Corportation of America (CCA) to keep more immigrants locked up. Private prison operators should be run out of Texas. Why are we paying private companies to house prisoners in Texas when there are 10,000 beds available. Texas is wasting money and should be taking care of education instead of giving contracts to CCA just because Mike Toomey (Rick Perry's former Chief of Staff) is their lobbyist.