Parole and probation violations have an outsized effect on state prison populations. The Course Corrections Cost Calculator uses data, soon to be released in our annual Confined and Costly report, to show how simple changes in probation and parole outcomes can impact a state’s prison population and costs.
The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center collected these data from individual states as part of a partnership with the Correctional Leaders Association and Arnold Ventures and jointly created the Cost Calculator with Recidiviz. The data in this tool may not be fully updated with the latest changes resulting from supervision adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a Department of Corrections representative and would like to update your state’s data to improve our tool, please contact Rebecca Cohen at [email protected].
Policy expertise is available to state policymakers seeking assistance in improving supervision outcomes amid current budget realities. For more information, contact Laura van der Lugt at [email protected].
Note: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and New Mexico do not appear on the Cost Calculator, as relevant revocations data for these states was incomplete or unavailable.
Projections are calculated by inputting previous years’ aggregated revocation population, revocation admissions, and average cost-per-person data into formulas developed to forecast the fiscal impact of changes in revocation populations.
In this model, savings per day depend on the size of changes in the prison population. If a change in population surpasses a threshold for closing a prison facility, the total operating budget of the facility is saved. For the remaining changes in population between thresholds, a marginal daily cost per person in prison is used.
To ensure the Cost Calculator can be applied across states using public data, it incorporates several simplifying assumptions, including (a) the prison population remains steady over time before the size of the revocation population is changed, (b) there is an idealized distribution of sentences for admissions, and (c) there is a constant average time served.
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