Annual Colorado College report to grade effectiveness of regions' senators and congressmen - Colorado College

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Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038 


Corrections industry big business in America, State of the Rockies Report finds

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – April 9, 2009 – Studies show that the United States has the highest prison population in the world; in fact, in terms of total inmates, the U.S. has a larger prison population than that of the 26 largest European nations combined.

In early 2008, The Pew Center on the States reported that the U.S. prison population exceeded 2.3 million, meaning that one out of every 100 adults is in prison. The corrections industry is big business in America; from 1982 to 2005, expenditures for police grew 396 percent; expenditures for corrections facilities grew 619 percent; and judicial expenses grew 474 percent.

The “Incarceration and Crime” chapter in the recently released Colorado College State of the Rockies Report Card breaks down prison data by every county within the eight-state Rocky Mountain region, which is comprised of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The report was written by John MacKinnon and Chris Jackson.

Key findings of the “Incarceration and Crime” report include:

  • Arizona and Colorado spend the highest percentage of their state general funds, 9 percent, on corrections funding, with Arizona spending $895 million and Colorado spending $599 million dollars.
  • New Mexico and Wyoming spend the lowest percentage of their state general funds, 4 percent, on corrections funding, with New Mexico spending $241 million and Wyoming spending $82 million dollars.
  • Colorado and Arizona had the highest federal inmate populations in the Rockies in 2008.
  • Arizona has the highest percentage of state employees in the corrections workforce, at 15 percent. Montana has the lowest, at 6 percent.
  • Colorado and Arizona each had four counties listed among the top 10 in the crime index score; Adams, El Paso, Jefferson and Douglas counties in Colorado; and Pima, Maricopa, Pinal and Mohave counties in Arizona.
  • Nevada and Utah each had three counties listed in the top 10 counties in the crime index score per capita; Esmeralda, Storey and Eureka counties in Nevada; and Sevier, Daggett and Beaver counties in Utah.

The State of the Rockies “Incarceration and Crime” report may be found at:

The entire 2009 State of the Rockies Report Card, including a baseline section looking at key demographics for the region, may be viewed online at:

This year’s 130-page report addresses the following issues:

  • Repopulating the Rockies: Highlighting the Megapolitan and Rural Economic Clusters of the Region
  • Wild and Scenic Rivers: The Importance of Federal River Protection in the Rockies
  • Wildlife Range and Condition: The Historic and Current State of Wildlife in the Rockies
  • Impacts of Energy Development on Wildlife: Highlighting the Unique Resources of the Region
  • Wildlife Management: Facilitating Safe and Sustainable Wildlife Populations in the Rockies
  • United States Laws and Policies Protecting Wildlife

Additionally, there are three graded “Rockies Snapshot” sections, which provide insightful statistics and analysis of:

  • Federal Representation: The effectiveness of Rockies' senators and representatives
  • Incarceration and Crime: The region's status and share of internment
  • Historic Preservation: The process, prevalence and state of historic preservation in the Rockies

Copies of the 2009 Report Card may be purchased through the Colorado College Bookstore, (800) 854-3930 or at

About the State of the Rockies Project
The Colorado College State of the Rockies Project aims to provide a thoughtful, objective voice in regional issues by offering credible research on problems facing the Rocky Mountain West, and by convening citizens and experts to discuss the future of our region. Each year Colorado College students research and write on regional issues in an annual “Colorado College State of the Rockies Report Card.” Through the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project, Colorado College fosters a strong sense of citizenship for its students, graduates and the broader regional community.   

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,975 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>