Some Not-So-Random Oregon Statistics

Recently, I heard a fascinating interview with Larry Krasner, the DA for Philadelphia. It really challenged some of my thoughts on incarceration and inspired me to do a little research, locally. Here are some interesting statistics that I found for Oregon:

  • 2017-2019 Dept of Corrections Budget: $1.76B ($880m annually) Source
  • Average Daily Prison Population: 14,835 Source
  • Average cost per inmate: $59,319 ($880m / 14,835)

So who is in our prison system? Here are some other things I found: Source

  • White 74.5% (vs 76.4% of normal state population)
  • Hispanic 12.1% (vs 12.8% of normal state population)
  • Black 9% (vs 2.1% of normal state population)
  • 62.7% are over the age of 30
  • Male 81%
  • Female 19%

Top 5 incarceration rates by county: Source

  1. Sherman County, 2.83 / 1000
  2. Marion County, 2.14 / 1000
  3. Jefferson County, 1.96 / 1000
  4. Linn County, 1.89 / 1000
  5. Clatsop County, 1.86 / 1000

And what did they do to get there? Source

  1. Drugs 20%
  2. Assault 13.4%
  3. Other 12.6%
  4. Theft 9.3%
  5. Burglary 8.9%

This also made me curious relative to education in Oregon. Here are a few statistics I found:

  • Average Teacher Salary: $59,204 Source
  • Total Number of Teachers: 22,357 Source
  • Median Class Size: 25 Source

So here are some of my random thoughts after doing this research:

  • It’s fascinating that every incarcerated inmate almost exactly equals a full time teacher. (These costs don’t even include local and municipal jail costs.)
  • African American Oregonians are clearly incarcerated at a much higher rate than either caucasian or hispanic Oregonians.
  • It’s ALARMING that 12.6% of the prison population is incarcerated for offenses labeled as “other”. Take a look at the source for the incarceration cause breakdown and you can see how granular it gets which makes the “other” classification that much more troublesome. (Forgery weighs in at a whopping 0.4%)
  • The likelihood of incarceration has nothing to do with the population density that you live in. Only one of the top 5 counties in the per capita list would be considered urban.

Does any of this mean anything? I’m not sure. I’ll definitely be thinking about it for a while. In the alarmist era we currently find ourselves in, I find it helpful to have some actual data behind to fall back on. As such, I’ve included links to all of my sources in case anyone else feels so inspired to do some data spelunking. If you do, please share what you find!



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