PNS Daily News - October 16, 2019 

Farmers in DC to discuss trade and the rural economic crisis; also Lily Bohlke reports on the Democratic debate -- from 2020 Talks.

2020Talks - October 16, 2019 

Last night in Ohio the fourth Democratic debate covered issues from health care, gun control and abortion to the Turkish invasion of Syria. What's clear: Sen. Elizabeth Warren has replaced former VP Joe Biden as the centerstage target.

Daily Newscasts

New Study: In WA, Prison’s a Bigger Budget Item than College

February 29, 2008

Seattle, WA – Washington's prison population increased about 3 percent in the past year, by 565 inmates, bringing the state's total to more than 18,000. That's just one of many grim findings in a new study that says one out of every 100 Americans is now in prison. The Pew Research Institute's "Public Safety Performance Project" also concludes that we're not any safer, despite the additional money spent on prisons, and it questions what states are getting — and what they're giving up — for the money spent to incarcerate so many people.

In Washington, prison costs make up almost 6 percent of the state budget. To put prison costs in perspective, Pew study director Adam Gelb says, they compared states' corrections budgets to college budgets.

"Twenty years ago, Washington State was spending 23 cents on corrections for every dollar it was spending on higher education. Now, it's 55 cents on corrections for every dollar spent on higher ed."

Gelb points to tighter budgets, higher health care costs for those who are incarcerated, and prison overcrowding as factors prompting states to rethink their corrections systems.

"It's these kinds of impacts, where we see the corrections budget starting to crowd out other pressing state priorities, that are making state policymakers across the country say, 'Time out! We've got to find a better way.'"

The study suggests ways to control the growth of prison populations, including drug courts and short-term housing for substance abusers, and incentives for people to meet parole and probation requirements so they're less likely to be sent back to prison. However, some of these ideas are controversial to proponents of "tough on crime" policies.

The study, "One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008," is available at

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA