The US today is arguably the most incarcerated society in human history. Some 3.2 percent of the adult population is in the correction system — either incarcerated or on probation, parole or some other form of supervision, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The cost of operating prisons is one of the fastest growing areas in state budgets. The high cost of incarceration is spurring new thinking around every aspect of prison policy. States are taking a hard look at a variety of strategies for driving down inmate populations, hopefully without sacrificing public safety. Many states are looking at expanding alternatives to incarceration for low-risk offenders, especially substance abusers, taking steps to improve reentry and reintegration to communities, thus reducing recidivism.
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