Professor Bill Bales Provides Expertise in First-of-its-Kind Study

March 22, 2007

Filed Under: Faculty, Research

The overpopulation of prisons has endured extensive research for many years, and those that are the most responsible for funding them, the citizens, are the least informed about their effects. This is a point that Associate Professor William Bales and other researchers illustrate in the Pew Charitable Trusts study “Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America’s Prison Population 2007-2011.” This study is the first of its kind. Bales notes that “it is our goal as researchers to elevate the national debate about sentencing and correctional practices and make it an integral part of the social and political dialogue.” The study projects prison populations in every state through 2011, based on state projections, current criminal justice policies, and demographic trends. Bale’s participation in the study gave him an invaluable opportunity to equip the general population with information that he has been researching and studying for 20 years. “It is very difficult for us [researchers] to provide the solution. Thus, bringing an important issue such as this to light for people to think about and to understand the social and economic ramifications of continuing to expand the number of people in prison at an unprecedented rate is what will truly bring about change.”