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Publication Date

June 1988

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Few people would argue that the state of our nation's prisons and jails is ideal. Apart from whatever other ills plague these institutions, overcrowding is pervasive. Populations have doubled in a decade, and with preventive detention, mandatory minimum sentences, habitual offender statutes, and the abolition of parole in some jurisdictions, there is no relief in sight. Some states are even leasing or purchasing prison space in other states. And it is costing the taxpayers more than seventeen million dollars a day to operate the facilities, with estimates ranging up to sixty dollars a day per inmate.

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