A new report says spending on Massachusetts prisons and jails is soaring even as overall inmate populations continue to decline.
The Boston Globe reports that the study by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonpartisan think tank, says spending for the Department of Correction and the 14 county sheriffs' offices outpaced inflation and rose 18 percent from 2011 to 2016 to $1.2 billion.
The prison population declined by 3,000 inmates, or 12 percent, in the same time period.
The report says 84 percent of the total growth in spending has been on new hires and increased pay for guards.
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The report's authors say the savings realized from the drop in the inmate population may have been better spent on rehabilitation programs that might help reduce recidivism rates.