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24 Crim. Just. Pol'y Rev. 3 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/cjpr24 and id is 1 raw text is: 

From the Editors
                                                            Criminal Justice Policy Review
                                                                         24(1) 3-8
OffenderD Reetr                 and24)3
                 n                                            © 2013 SAGE Publications
                                                               Reprints and permission:
Reintegration: Policy                                  sagepub..../jo.... sPermissi ...
                                                         DOI: 10.1177/0887403412452426
and     Research                                                 http://cjp.sagepub.com

During the past 40 years, at the same time that many new criminal justice system poli-
cies and programs emerged, our country greatly increased its reliance on incarceration
as a major response to criminal offending. From 1973 to 2009, our nation's prison
population grew by more than 700%, resulting in more than 1 in 100 adults being
placed behind bars (Pew Center on the States, 2011). The United States currently leads
the world in incarceration rates, with more than 2.26 million adults confined in prisons
and jails (Carter, Gibel, Giguere, & Stroker, 2007; Glaze, 2011). In addition to these
incarceration figures, nearly 5 million criminal offenders are under some form of com-
munity corrections supervision in America (Glaze, 2011). About 500,000 of the
650,000 inmates released from prison each year are placed on parole, while the rest of
the 5 million offenders who are under community supervision are serving sentences of
probation. In combination with the 2 million-plus offenders who are incarcerated, the
7 million adults who form the total U.S. correctional population represent a tripling of
the size of this group since 1980 (Carter et al., 2007).
   Not only have we incarcerated and supervised an ever-growing number of criminal
offenders but we also know that a substantial portion of these individuals will be rear-
rested and often sent back to prison as repeat offenders. Adult recidivism data from the
past 20 years suggest that about two thirds of all inmates released from prison are rear-
rested within 3 years for a new offense; almost half are reconvicted for a new crime;
and about 45% are returned to prison (Langan & Levin, 2002; Pew Center on the
States, 2011). In short, America currently faces a situation where ever-growing num-
bers of offenders are being processed in the criminal justice system, and they present
a high likelihood of reoffending once they are returned to the community.
   Increasing offender populations and the strong threat of recidivism are alarming to
many policy makers, practitioners, researchers, and citizens, but another important
trend to consider is the rising economic costs associated with crime and delinquency
in our country. Given the growth of offenders within the criminal justice system, it
should come as no surprise that associated justice system costs and expenditures have
surged dramatically as well.

   From 1982 to 2006, the United States increased its investment in police more
   than fivefold, from $19 billion to more than $99 billion. It increased its invest-
   ment in corrections almost eightfold during the same time span, from $9 billion
   to $69 billion. And it increased its investment in the judiciary-which is required
   to process the large influx of new cases-from almost US$8 billion to $47 bil-
   lion. Adding all functions together, from 1982 to 2006, criminal justice expen-
   ditures rose by 500%, from $36 billion to $215 billion. (Mears, 2010, p. 17)

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