The Bureau of Justice Statistics recently released data which reveals that, between 2009 and 2010, state expenditures on corrections declined 5.6 percent. Not only are taxpayers breathing a bit easier, but in that same time frame, violent crime went down 6.0 percent, while property crime was reduced 2.7 percent.
Public safety is a core function of state government. We expect state officials to use our tax dollars to help keep our streets safe. But this data suggests that the most important metric in criminal justice spending is not how much states spend, but how they spend those tax dollars. Smart justice policies can save money while continually increasing public safety.