University of Missouri Extension | Division of Applied Social Sciences | College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Prison Population, Expenditures Rise

With a population of 1,596,127 incarcerated adults, one in 100 U.S. adults is imprisoned, the Pew Center on the States reported in February.1 In the Midwest region, the overall prison population has increased slightly to one in 250, but remains below the national average. See Table, below.

Comparison of Prison Population in Midwest States, 2006-2008

Missouri Incarceration Rates

The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) June 30, 2007 census was 101,553; 20 adult correctional centers held 30,685 inmates, with 2,541 classified as interstate. Treatment facilities held 2,277 inmates. Among these figures are offenders sentenced to "Shock probation" (up to 120-days state prison sentences). Although Missouri does not pay for 60- or 90-day county jail terms, but does cover the costs for shock probation offenders, a trend toward using shock probation may inflate the state incarceration census figures.2

The DOC also reported 16,088 parolees, and 49,962 persons on probation.3

The most recent county information shows that in 2006, five Missouri counties — Pemiscot, Mississippi, New Madrid, Saline and Lafayette — and the City of St. Louis reported the highest rates of adult incarceration among their total population.4

Prison Population and Highest Incarceration Rate Per 100,000 Population by Sentencing County, June 30, 2006

Women represent the fastest growing demographic cohort in Missouri prisons. The Department of Corrections reports that the "increase in the number of females admitted to prison has been much higher than the increase in the number of males (9.8% females per year compared to 3.7% males per year for all admissions since 2003). Since 2003, new female admissions sentenced to a prison sentence have increased at 8.9% per year and this has placed great pressure on the available prison capacity for female offenders." 3

Corrections Costs

Along with a larger prison population, the Pew Center reports that incarceration costs have increased. Missouri spending on corrections, at 7.4% of 2007 general revenue, ranks 13th in the nation, according to the Pew Center.1

The Missouri DOC operations budget indicated total spending of $639,565,971 in FY 2006; of that amount, $242,144,481 (37.9%) supported adult institutions, while $238,257,925 (37.3%) was allocated to probation/parole and rehabilitation, with the remainder allocated to the Director ($19,511,073) and to Human Services ($139,652,492, including reimbursement to counties).5 Based on DOC budget allocations for 2006, the cost for incarceration was approximately $8,906 per person; the cost for supervising offenders on parole or probation was approximately $3,607 per person.

In addition to DOC budget allocations, the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) reports that 70% (approximately 1,0726) of the residents (of all ages) in state psychiatric facilities are "forensic patients" committed by the courts. These offenders are "either determined incompetent to stand trial for a committed crime, determined not guilty by reason of insanity, or deemed a sexual predator in need of treatment after lengthy stays in a Missouri Corrections facility."7

The DMH FY2009 budget proposal includes requests for $1.5 million for the Missouri Sexual Offender Treatment Center, as well as $384,758 for an additional 17-bed treatment unit expansion of the center. DMH notes additional commitments to Mental Retardation/ Developmental Disability habilitation centers of "a younger population with borderline intellectual functioning and severe behaviors or sexual deviancy, and refusal of guardians to allow community placement."7

In 2007, 13.6% of Missouri state employees worked for DOC, 2.6% above a 2007 national average of 11%, the Pew Center reported.

Characteristics of Offenders


The majority of adult Missourians are white (87.1%); the next largest cohorts are Black 10.7%; and Hispanic 2.4%, according to 2006 U.S. Census American Community Survey data. See Table, below.

Missouri 2006 Demographics - Adult, by Race

While Blacks are estimated at 10.7% of the state's adult population, they account for 40% of Missouri inmates. In Missouri, Blacks are 5.5 times more likely to be jailed than Whites; by population, one in 39 adult inmates is Black, while one in 217 is White. (DOC reports Hispanics in "White and Non African American Offenders.") See Table, below.

Missouri Institutional Offender Population Demographics by Race - June 30, 2007


Of all Missouri inmates, 20.1% females and 5.6% males had health problems requiring daily nursing supervision.3 (Nationally, about 5 percent of female prisoners reported being pregnant at time of incarceration.).8

Substance Abuse

For 2007, 85% of all Missouri inmates required treatment for moderate to severe substance abuse, ranging in duration from 30-60 days to 6-12 months. (Not all incarcerated offenders had been assessed for substance abuse to date.)

Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health estimated in 2005 that 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older have a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.9 In 2007, 37.8% of all female and 11.8% of all male Missouri inmates were assessed as mentally ill, while nearly half (46%) of "sexual offenders" were classified with "mild to severe" mental illness.3 (Offenders with mental health scores of 3 to 5 are classified as being mentally ill.3)

Special Courts

The Pew Center reports that at least 13 states have adopted legislation creating or expanding community corrections options for nonviolent offenders, including drug and mental health courts. As of 2007, 98 of Missouri's 114 counties and St. Louis City had at least one special court operating or being planned; including the establishment of 108 operational special courts: 75 adult drug courts, 19 juvenile drug courts and 14 family drug courts.10 (Family courts also adjudicate dissolutions and custody cases.) Mental Health Courts are located in St. Louis City Municipal Court, Jackson County, St. Louis County, Greene County and Boone County.11

Missouri Drug Courts


  1. Pew Center on the States. (February 2008). One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008.
  2. Wolff, M. A. (2006). Missouri's Information-Based Discretionary Sentencing System. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 4(95), 110.
  3. Missouri Department of Corrections. (January 14, 2008). A Profile of the Institutional and Supervised Offender Population on June 30, 2007. Retrieved on March 10, 2008.
  4. "Missouri County Incarceration Rates for FY 2006" map, in A Profile of the Institutional and Supervised Offender Population on June 30, 2007. 13.
  5. Missouri Department of Corrections. "Operations Budget FY2007," reported in FY2006 Annual Report, Retrieved on March 10, 2008.
  6. According to Missouri Department of Mental Health Comprehensive Psychiatric Services 2007 Block Grant, as of May 31, 2006, the number of statewide psychiatric beds was 1,531. OMB No. 0930-0168, 53. Retrieved on March 14, 2008.
  7. Missouri Department of Mental Health Executive Team. Official Memorandum, State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2009 Budget Development Cycle July 16, 2007, at Retrieved on March 10, 2008.
  8. Maruschak, L. M. (November 2006). Medical Problems of Jail Inmates. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice.
  9. Kessler R.C., Chiu W.T., Demler O. & Walters E.E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 617-27.
  10. Email communication and Map of Missouri Special Courts from Ann Wilson, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coordinator, Division Court Programs and Research, Office of State Courts Administrator. (March 6, 2008). Missouri Courts: Specialized Courts Division.
  11. Office of State Courts Administrator. Missouri Mental Health Courts. Retrieved on March 10, 2008.

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This file last modified Tuesday February 24, 2015, 14:48:47