A Pooled Cross- Sectional Time Series Analysis of State Corrections Expenditures From 1974 to 1996

Thomas D. Stucky, Indiana Purdue University
Karen Heimer, University of Iowa

The dramatic increase in American state prison populations over the last three decades has sparked considerable research interest. Numerous studies have examined variation in prison populations. However, few have examined variation in state corrections budgets, and none have studied annual changes in state corrections expenditures both over time and across states. The present study uses pooled cross- sectional time series statistical models to assess the roles of economics, social demographics, crime, and partisan politics in explaining variation in annual, state-level corrections expenditures for the fifty American states from 1974 to 1996. Results suggest that crime, demographics, state budgetary pressures and partisan politics all play a role in determining variation in state correctional expenditures across states and over time.

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Updated 05/20/2006