Indiana's prison population increased 47 percent over the past 10 years and now tops 28,000. Corrections spending grew at a similar pace, rising from $495 million to $679 million in state general funds. If existing policies remain unchanged, by 2017 the prison population is projected to continue to increase another 21 percent, to nearly 35,000, at a cumulative additional cost of $1.2 billion.
In early 2010, state leaders requested technical assistance from the Public Safety Performance Project and the Council of State Governments Justice Center to conduct an in-depth analysis of Indiana's criminal justice data to determine why the prison population is increasing and where opportunities exist for reform. To guide the effort, Indiana established a bipartisan, inter-branch working group to develop data-driven policy recommendations to increase public safety while containing corrections costs.
In December 2010, Governor Mitch Daniels and other state leaders released the findings from the data analysis and a series of policy recommendations designed to address the projected growth in Indiana's prison population, generate savings and reinvest in strategies to increase public safety.