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Prison Population Forecast for Washington State - Fiscal Year 1983-1996 - Assumptions and Findings

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1983
The major findings of this forecast is that the Washington State prison population, after growing at an all-time high rate in fiscal 1982, is expected to continue to grow at a rapid rate during fiscal 1983, with the rate of growth expected to decline during the remainder of the forecast.

This forecast does not presume to predict the future, but rather states what the future prison population will be if the crime, demographic, and criminal justice system factors follow their projected paths. The forecast does not take into account proposed determinate sentencing nor the early release program planned by the Board of Prison Terms and Paroles. The basic formula by which the forecast operates is that future prison population equals present prison population plus new prison admission and admissions from parole failures minus prison releases. Direct factors included in the forecast are changes in (1) 'at risk' populations, (2) superior court conviction rates, (3) the judicial decision to imprison, (4) the length of stay, (5) recidivism patterns, and (6) recidivism paths. Other direct factors considered were the most up-to-date release dates for those currently in prison, sex of the offender, age of the offender at conviction, and type of crime. Indirect factors considered in the forecast were changes in the reported crime pattern, the number of superior court felony filings, prosecutorial practices, the economic situation, and the felony jail population. Findings for the fiscal 1983-1996 prison population forecast are presented in three sections: annual forecast, monthly forecast, and prison population composition. In terms of prison population composition, it is forecast that those inmates classified as violent offenders are expected to increase from 48 percent of the inmate population in fiscal 1976 to 63 percent in fiscal 1991. Appendixes contain the rationale and projections of conviction rates and the judicial decision to imprison percentages, a list of specific crimes used in the crime categories forecast, and the executive order pertaining to the establishment of an interagency criminal justice work group. Tabular and graphic data are provided.

Date Published: January 1, 1983