The high rate of incarceration in the U.S. is a significant factor in state and local governments' current budgetary strains, according to a new study from the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). The report, "The High Budgetary Costs of Incarceration," estimates that cutting the incarceration rate for non-violent offenders would reduce state and local budgets by almost $15 billion per year, about one-fourth of their annual corrections budgets.

The study finds that the rate of incarceration in 2008 — 753 per 100,000 people — was 240 percent higher than it was in 1980. According to the report, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, a rate that is seven times higher than the average for other rich countries.

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