In 1977, The Question Was: Why Do Inmates Want to Escape from Prison

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The number of people incarcerated in state, federal and other detention facilities the U.S. hovers around 2 million — more before the Covid-19 pandemic and fewer once the pandemic was underway.

That number was far lower in 1977 with only 278,141 people incarcerated. Still, Sen. William Proxmire gave one of his well-known awards to the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration that year.

Until it was dissolved in 1988, the LEAA was a part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 1977, the LEAA spent nearly $27,000 ($119,938 when adjusted for inflation) to determine why inmates want to escape from prison.

Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, gave awards to wasteful and nonsensical spending. He handed out 168 Golden Fleece Awards between 1975 and 1988.

A study to consider why someone sitting in a prison cell wants to leave is the height of wasteful spending and deserved Proxmire’s award.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at

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