Another problem is inmates not receiving the right kind of supervision after being released.
The number of inmates released on supervised parole has increased by 5 percent since 2007. But the number of those who simply finished their sentence and were discharged on unsupervised release has risen by 33 percent.
Reynolds said these "max-outs" are usually higher-risk offenders more than twice as likely to commit more crimes than a low-risk parolee.
Sentencing guidelines for some crimes result in the earliest date for parole and the earliest possible release date with "good time" being too close together. Good time allows inmates to reduce their sentences by as much as 50 percent for good behavior behind bars.
State Parole Board Chairman Dennis Foreman said many inmates are aware of this.
Foreman said about 40 percent of inmates waive their parole hearings, often because their release date is within a year or two and they prefer unsupervised release.
"Several of them will waive a hearing because they don't want to go out on parole," Foreman said. "They would rather sit in prison a little longer to avoid the parole officer supervision."
Reynolds said this indicates the state may need to reform some sentencing guidelines.
He said the Justice Center group aims to review those guidelines with prosecutors and judges in the coming weeks.
The study also identified some inefficient areas, such as an overuse of complete psychological evaluations on low-risk inmates and substance abuse programs for those who don't have abuse or addiction problems.
Rob Alsop, the governor's chief of staff, said reducing such inefficiencies would allow the state to spend more on community corrections and substance abuse treatment programs.
"The whole system needs to be looked at," Alsop said. "If we can make the system a little more efficient, then we can divert resources."
Alsop said reducing the $168 million in revocation spending by less than 10 percent could free up $12 to $16 million for substance abuse programs statewide.
He said there are many potential savings.
"There's things we can do at every aspect where we can turn the dial 5 or 10 degrees and we'll see a big improvement," Alsop said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.