The number of people on parole and probation in the U.S. has surged past 5 million, according to a new report that says states can save money in the long run by investing in better supervision of these offenders.
The Pew Center on the States report says the number of people on probation or parole more than tripled to 5.1 million from 1982 to 2007. Including jail and prison inmates, the total population of the U.S. corrections system now exceeds 7.3 million -- one of every 31 U.S. adults, it said.
The report also noted huge discrepancies among the states in corrections populations -- one of every 13 adults in Georgia at one end of the scale, one of every 88 in New Hampshire at the other.
The racial gap also was stark -- one of every 11 black adults is under correctional supervision, compared with one of every 27 Latino adults and one of every 45 white adults.
The report said improved community supervision strategies are one of the best ways to limit corrections spending and reduce recidivism.