1 in 32 adults bulge state prison system


POSTED: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

HONOLULU » One in 32 Hawaii adults are either behind bars, on probation or on parole, according to a new study released yesterday by the Pew Center on the States.

That ratio was the 19th highest in the nation, according to the report, “;One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections.”;

The study also found that nationally, one in 31 adults are in state or federal prisons or under supervision by probation or parole systems.

“;Most states are facing serious budget deficits,”; Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, said in a statement. “;Every single one of them should be making smart investments in community corrections that will help them cut costs and improve outcomes.”;

The report found that as of the end of 2007, one in 45 Hawaii adults, or more than 22,000, were on parole or probation. One in 108, or nearly 9,300, were in prison, including those prisoners transferred to public or private facilities located in other states.

The total number of persons in the correctional system totaled more than 31,600, the report found.

That is a significant increase from 25 years before, when one in 90 Hawaii adults were in prison or on probation or parole, the report said.

According to the study, spending on corrections accounted for 4.3 percent of Hawaii's general fund in the 2008 fiscal year.

In that year, only 4 cents was spent on the parole and probation systems for every dollar the state expended on prisons, the study found.

“;After an extraordinary, quarter-century expansion of American prisons, one unmistakable policy truth has emerged: We cannot build our way to public safety,”; the report's executive summary stated.

“;Serious, chronic and violent offenders belong behind bars, for a long time, and the expense of locking them up is justified many times over,”; the report added. “;But for hundreds of thousands of lower-level inmates, incarceration costs taxpayers far more than it saves in prevented crime.”;