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Appropriations for Corrections

Description: 

Most of the general fund appropriations for public safety are for the correctional (prison) system. Two state agencies administer the state’s correctional system: the Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Corrections.

The primary focus of state government public finance is the general fund. Appropriations are approved by the Arizona Legislature before the beginning of each fiscal year, but adjustments to appropriations can be made during the year. Actual expenditures are essentially the same as the latest approved appropriations. The data are reported for fiscal years; for example, fiscal year 2013 runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. An annual time series of expenditures are available back to fiscal year 1979 and include appropriations through the current fiscal year.

In order to compare expenditures over time, the effects of inflation, population growth, and per capita economic growth must be considered. Reporting expenditures per $1,000 of personal income automatically adjusts for all three factors. The fiscal year average (the average of the four quarters of the fiscal year) of personal income is used to standardize the public finance data.

In addition to measuring appropriations per $1,000 of personal income, a better gauge for public programs that serve only a portion of the population is to measure appropriations relative to the caseload of the program. For corrections, the caseload measure is the number of inmates. Per inmate appropriations were divided by per capita personal income in order to adjust for inflation and per capita economic growth. Per capita personal income was calculated using the fiscal year average for personal income and the average of the population at the beginning and end of the fiscal year.

Data Source: 

Expenditures are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. The expenditure data are taken from the Appropriations Report; when released late in a fiscal year, the report includes revised appropriations for the current fiscal year and appropriations for the following fiscal year. The Appropriations Report is released several weeks after the budget has been passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.

Historically, the number of Department of Corrections inmates was reported as of the middle of the fiscal year (December 31). In recent years, the number has been reported monthly: http://www.azcorrections.gov/adc/reports/reports1.aspx (go to the “ADC Corrections at a Glance” report, “PRISON TOTAL” “POP.” on page 2), with the figure from the December report being used. The number of Juvenile Corrections inmates historically was reported as of the end of the fiscal year (June 30): http://www.azdjc.gov/FactsNews/ResearchData/ResearchData.asp (go to the “Annual Report FY 20xx Data Tables” report, “Total Number of Juveniles in ADJC Custody”), but these figures have not been updated recently.

Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.

The calculation of per capita personal income for the fiscal year uses annual population estimates as of July 1. Through 1999, the source is the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. Their time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. Since 2000, the source is the Arizona Department of Administration, Office of Employment and Population Statistics: http://www.workforce.az.gov/population-estimates.aspx. Both sets of estimates are released in December.

Data Quality Comments: 

Because of differences by state in accounting systems, the JLBC data are not comparable to those of any other state.

Some of the inputs to the calculation of personal income by state are estimated. Personal income estimates are subject to revision. Personal income figures for the current fiscal year are projected. Personal income is a comprehensive measure of the economy but has conceptual limitations when employed to adjust public revenues and expenditures.

iconCorrectional Appropriations Per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Relative to the size of the economy, state government general fund appropriations for corrections more than doubled over the 20 years through fiscal year (FY) 1999, but have dropped back a little since then in an irregular annual pattern. Following increases from FYs 2007 through 2009, correctional appropriations per $1,000 of personal income have declined a little in each of the last six years.

iconNumber of Inmates in Arizona

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Visualization Notes:

The number of inmates increased in every year from fiscal year (FY) 1981 through FY 2010, by more than 900 per year in most of those years. In FYs 2011 and 2012, the number of inmates fell slightly and there was hardly any increase in FY 2013. However, the number rose by more than 1,000 in FY 2014.

The increase in the prison population over the three decades from 1980 to 2010 far outpaced the growth in Arizona’s population, with the number of inmates per 1,000 residents rising from 1.3 to 6.4. The large increase was primarily due to the state’s mandatory sentencing laws, the first of which went into effect in the late 1970s. The per capita number of inmates fell to 6.2 in FY 2013 but again began to rise in FY 2014.

iconCorrectional Appropriations Per Inmate Per $1,000 of Per Capita Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

In contrast to the large rise in the number of inmates, appropriations per inmate per $1,000 of per capita personal income fell considerably in Arizona from the early 1980s through the early 1990s. The figure dropped a little further in the early 2000s and again in the last three fiscal years.

Data Source

Expenditures are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. The expenditure data are taken from the Appropriations Report; when released late in a fiscal year, the report includes revised appropriations for the current fiscal year and appropriations for the following fiscal year. The Appropriations Report is released several weeks after the budget has been passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.

Historically, the number of Department of Corrections inmates was reported as of the middle of the fiscal year (December 31). In recent years, the number has been reported monthly: http://www.azcorrections.gov/adc/reports/reports1.aspx (go to the “ADC Corrections at a Glance” report, “PRISON TOTAL” “POP.” on page 2), with the figure from the December report being used. The number of Juvenile Corrections inmates historically was reported as of the end of the fiscal year (June 30): http://www.azdjc.gov/FactsNews/ResearchData/ResearchData.asp (go to the “Annual Report FY 20xx Data Tables” report, “Total Number of Juveniles in ADJC Custody”), but these figures have not been updated recently.

Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.

The calculation of per capita personal income for the fiscal year uses annual population estimates as of July 1. Through 1999, the source is the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. Their time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. Since 2000, the source is the Arizona Department of Administration, Office of Employment and Population Statistics: http://www.workforce.az.gov/population-estimates.aspx. Both sets of estimates are released in December.