Pew Study Finds America’s Prison Population and Corrections Costs Hit Historic Levels

Date: February 28, 2008

Pew Center on the States
Public Safety Performance Project

Washington, DC 20004


A new report by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project finds that the U.S. prison population grew substantially in 2007, with the proportion of Americans behind bars now at historic levels.  State spending on corrections also set an all-time record—yet recidivism rates remain stubbornly high, leading a growing number of state lawmakers to question whether taxpayers are getting sufficient return on their investment. 

The study offers state and regional prison growth rates and examines how corrections spending compares to other state investments, why it has increased, and what some states are doing to limit growth in their prison populations and costs while maintaining public safety.


Report release, overview and discussion


Sue Urahn, Managing Director, The Pew Center on the States
Adam Gelb, Director, Public Safety Performance Project
Jim Austin, President, JFA Institute


11:00 a.m. – Noon EST
Thursday, February 28
Conference Call Telephone Number: 800-869-6581
Confirmation Code: 3342718

To RSVP for the teleconference contact Jessica Riordan at 215-575-4886 or

For more information on Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, visit

Launched in 2006 as a project of Pew's Center on the States, the Public Safety Performance Project seeks to help states advance fiscally sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs.

The Pew Charitable Trusts applies the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems.  Our Center on the States identifies and advances effective policy approaches to critical issues facing states.  Online at

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