Protecting Public Safety and Reducing Correctional Costs in Oregon

By Vikrant P. Reddy and Marc A. Levin

Oregon’s Corrections Challenges

Oregon has fourteen state prisons,3 and state forecasters estimate that it will need more in order to accommodate approximately 2,300 new inmates over the next ten years.4 The Oregon Department of Corrections has projected that it will cost over $600 million to accommodate these new inmates.5

The forecast comes from an October 2012 report issued semi-annually by Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis (OEA), the same independent agency responsible for the revenue forecast.6 OEA’s 10-year forecasts have fallen within six percentage points of actual growth for the last decade.7 The agency’s 2-year forecasts have come even closer to the mark—within a single percentage point of actual growth for the last decade, on average.8 Whether policymakers are concerned with the 2013-2015 biennial budget or Oregon’s fiscal health a decade into the future, OEA’s correctional forecasts and associated cost projections suggest real and sobering challenges. Lawmakers must consider whether Oregon is squeezing the most public safety from its corrections spendin


Marc A. Levin, Esq. is Policy Director of Right on Crime (, a project of
the Texas Public Policy Foundation that advances conservative criminal justice solutions.

Vikrant P. Reddy, Esq. is a policy analyst with Right on Crime.

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