Over the years, I have had numerous opportunities to present workshops on employment of ex-offenders. As I stand in front of the audience, I am always amazed at the shock on people’s faces when we discuss the sheer number of the population in prisons and jails, and the costs associated with incarceration. For example, did you know:
- Over 80 billion dollars is spent on Corrections each year - Bureau of Justice Statistics
- Seven million people are under correctional control, including individuals on probation and parole – U. S. Department of Justice
- The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population, but it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners – New York Times
- 1 out of 100 adults in the United States is in prison.
- Once released from prison, 2 out of 3 people are rearrested within a year. This is known as recidivism.
- Over the course of the last 20 years, the amount of money spent on prisons increased by 570%, while the money spent on education increased by only 33%.
- The cost per year to house an inmate varies from state to state. For example, in New York the cost is $47,421 per year, while in Pennsylvania, it is $42,339.
Needless to say, the above statistics clearly point out that we are facing enormous challenges. The costs associated with incarceration are staggering and the population of prisoners who will eventually be released and in need of jobs is becoming enormous.