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Lawmakers look for ways to cut escalating prison costs

Posted: October 5, 2011 - 12:01am

ANCHORAGE — Alaska lawmakers are looking for ways to cut prison costs.

They say lowering Alaska’s high rate of repeat offenders could be one way to cut prison costs. And, they say, it could mean a better life out of jail for those who likely would be headed back to prison.

The Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday that House and Senate panels that oversee the state corrections budget hosted a daylong “Smart Justice Summit” in Anchorage on Monday. Lawmakers want to learn how other states are dealing with escalating prison costs and what might work in Alaska.

This year’s operating budget for the state Department of Corrections is more than $288 million, up more than $110 million from what was being spent 10 years ago.

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