PA Prison System…Did You Know? By David Ludwig

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1)  In 2015 the offender population decreased by 842 inmates, which represents the greatest one-year decline in population in the last 40 years.

2)  Between 2005-2009 our population was growing so rapidly, an estimated 26 percent of prison inmates had to be housed in counties and two other states.

3)  In 2010 our prison population was projected to grow to approximately 63,000 inmates by 2016.  We reversed this trend through a combination of internal efficiencies and timely parole action, and by 2012 the number of inmates was reduced by 454 individuals.

4)  Since 2010 and each subsequent year, the population continued to drop by hundreds.

5)  As of January 2016, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) had a total supervised population of 41,333, which includes state-sentenced offenders, county probation and parole, and interstate offenders.

6)  The cost to incarcerate an offender for one year in state prison is $44,396.  An elderly inmate costs three to nine times more to house than a younger prisoner.  The cost to supervise an offender on parole is $3,500.

7)  Pennsylvania has the second highest number of people serving LWOP (Life Without Parole) sentences of any state in the country, and is one of only six states that denies parole to lifers.

8)  As of 2009, 9.4% of the Pennsylvania prison population were serving life sentences.

9)  In contrast, there are 15 states where less than 1% of people in prison are serving LWOP.

10)  Pennsylvania prisons currently hold approximately 5,100 people serving life sentences.

11)  Pennsylvania’s racially disproportionate LWOP sentence is above the national average.  In Pennsylvania, of people serving LWOP sentences, 65% are Black and 8.5% are Latino.

12)  More than 81% of the prison population reports that they are unskilled.

13)  In 2017 the DOC received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to transform the DOC education programs.

14)  Presently there are 12,359 inmates in educational programs.  139 have earned their GEDs, 8892 are in academic programs, and 3,466 are in vocational programs.

15)  The DOC presently offers 25 vocational programs that are available to inmates.

16)  In 2001 there were 1,892 geriatric inmates aged 55 or older.  Today there are 6,458.

17)  Since January 2015, 483 inmates have died in state prison, 343 of them aged 55 or older.

18)  Since 2015, 24 inmates applied for Compassionate Release, and only 6 were approved.

19)  Inmates ages 18-35 cost $44,396 per year, and inmates between 36-75 cost $70,000 annually.

 

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