Prison Reforms May Take Funds From Welfare, Aid to Needy, Study Says


Prison reforms may result in better conditions for inmates, but improvements come at the expense of welfare cash assistance and other government relief for the needy, says a study from Rice University and Louisiana State University reported by the Texas Tribune. “We find statistically that there is this link that higher prison spending leads to less welfare spending,” said Rice University professor and study co-author Richard Boylan. The study examined 12 states where statewide court rulings required sweeping prison reforms. Those states saw diminished welfare expenses that remained even when the reform orders were lifted, Boylan said. The study included Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Boylan said that despite concerns over Texas prison conditions, the study suggested Texans “should be very careful in making the leap that these terrible prison conditions should be changed.”

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