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Old 12-16-2004, 12:49 PM
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Default Washington Department of Corrections: Cost of Corrections

Originator Department: Department of Corrections
Create Date: 1998/08/05
Last Modified: 2004/05/06

Cost of Corrections

DOC is the third largest state agency, behind the Department of Social and Health Services and Department of Transportation. In addition, DOC is the second largest state General Fund agency and is almost entirely supported by the state General Fund.

Offender Population is Up

As the state's population has increased, so has the number of convicted felony offenders. Between 1995 and 2001, the population of offenders housed in facilities has increased from 10,997 to 15,042, an increase of 37 percent. During the same time, the population of offenders on some sort of community supervision has increased from 47,748 to 58,687, an increase of 23 percent.
Costs are Down

Although the number of offenders is up, the annual cost per offender, after adjusting for inflation, has declined. The annual cost per offender, adjusted for inflation using 1996 dollars as the base, was at an all time high of $26,920 in 1988. Since that time, the cost has decreased to about $22,888 per offender in inflation adjusted dollars over the last three years.

Growth Continues

The incarcerated offender population is forecast to increase by 1,580 offenders, or about 10 percent, in the next six years based on the June 2002 Forecasts produced by the Caseload Forecast Council. The community supervision population also continues to increase by about 2 percent each year. An increasing offender population will increase the total DOC budget since the cost of corrections is directly tied to the number of offenders incarcerated and supervised.

The current prison population exceeds capacity by more than 800 offenders. The use of emergency measures to house offenders places a strain on the correctional staff as well as offenders making for a more stressful and unsafe environment.


Last edited by JJT; 12-16-2004 at 12:52 PM..
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