[A]t least 23 states slashed funding for prisons this year.... Six states — Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska and Washington — cut funding for corrections by more than 10 percent from last year’s levels. . . . Kansas saw the biggest recorded decrease, spending 22 percent less than it did last year.
Corrections is the fifth-largest area of state spending after Medicaid, secondary education, higher education and transportation. State spending on prisons has swelled as the nation’s jail and prison population has climbed to 2.3 million people.... [A]t least seven states — Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Washington — this year decided to close prisons.