Katie Couric's Notebook: Prison Crowding

It's a statistic that leaps off the page: One in 31 American adults is either behind bars or on parole or probation.

In some states, it's much higher. In Georgia, one in 13 adults is part of the correctional system.

That kind of crackdown has taken a bite out of crime, as McGruff would say, but it's also taking a big bite out of the budget.

States spent 47 billion dollars on correction systems in 2008, second only to Medicaid spending.

A Pew Center on the States study says 90 percent of that money goes to prisons, leaving very little left for parole programs. As state's slash spending -- parole, rehab, and probation will take a hit.

But experts say programs that monitor and rehabilitate convicts could reduce recidivism…by as much as 30 percent.

Spending money to keep people from returning to prison is as important an investment as ensuring you have the money to lock them up in the first place.

  • Katie Couric

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