Extract from article:
The rising number of prisoners serving costly life terms across the country is complicating state officials' efforts to make dramatic cuts to large prison budgets, lawmakers and criminal justice officials said.
From 1984 to 2008, the number of offenders serving life terms quadrupled, from 34,000 to roughly 140,000, according to the most recent count by The Sentencing Project, which advocates alternatives to incarceration.
One of the fastest-growing subgroups are inmates serving life without the possibility of parole. Those numbers have jumped from 12,453 in 1992 to 41,095 in 2008 and represent the most costly inmates to house as the aging inmates require increased medical care.
"The challenge for us is to distinguish between the offenders we are afraid of — those who deserve to be locked up for life — and those who we are just mad at and who can be handled outside of prison," Texas state Sen. John Whitmire said...
For complete article, see:
Growing prison populations hinder budget cuts, by Kevin Johnson (USA Today, October 21 2011)