In Kentucky, where they have been facing a billion-dollar deficit, corrections officials told ABC News they are looking at a variety of measures to reduce their state prison population, including early release of some non-violent offenders and expanding the home incarceration plan which allows inmates to be released for substance-abuse treatment and to seek employment.
In Michigan, it costs $2 billion to run the corrections system. An increasing number of state leaders say they really can't afford to pay that kind of money.
"Our efforts to grow Michigan's economy and keep our state competitive are threatened by the rising costs in the Department of Corrections," Gov. Jennifer Granholm recently told The Detroit News. "We spend more on prisons than we do on higher education, and that has got to change."
According the News, the Michigan Corrections Department already devours 20 cents of every tax dollar in the state's general fund and employs nearly one in every three state government workers, compared with 9 percent of the work force 25 years ago.