More on how budget cuts are impacting the criminal justice system and governor’s who give great quotes.
Crime in America.net
“You can only squeeze so much blood from a turnip,” states South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford regarding his state’s ability to deal with budget difficulties without cutting corrections (link below).
“The question I ask, as a mama and a grandmama, is do I want to spend all our new money on prisons, or do I want to spend our new money on education and jobs” states North Carolina’s Gov. Bev Perdue (link below).
We at Crime in America.Net have documented the budget situation in criminal justice agencies throughout the United States. Prosecutors are laying off staff, states are eliminating hundreds of police officer jobs and the situation has gone from difficult to dire.
Readers of this site have complained that we are advocating correctional cuts. We don’t believe that’s the case; we simply think that we are among the few who are bringing the situation to the public’s attention.
But the good Governor from South Carolina put it perfectly when he stated that “You can’t squeeze” the budget beyond what’s there.
If you don’t like cuts for prisons then we think you are in for a shock; there are lots of states (over half) that are employing a variety of tactics such as releasing thousands of offenders from prison without them reporting to parole and probation agencies (unconditional releases).
Why? It eliminates the possibility of offenders returning to prison for technical violations (disobeying the rules) thus automatically cutting recidivism (return to prison) in half for those released without reporting requirements.
Paroles are also increasing and states are getting inventive with good time and other credits that shorten prison stays (go to school—get out earlier).
States are looking at revamping their sentencing structures to focus on violent offenders and doing “something else” with non-violent prisoners.
They are also investing in programs for prison inmates and offenders when they leave prisons, but there are plenty of states cutting the same efforts so it’s hard to get a grip on what’s actually happening throughout the country regarding programs.
The bottom-line? As documented on this site (link below) the prison population in this country will shrink and continue to decline until the economy improves.
Some think that incarceration rates have hit their peak and will continue to decline regardless of economic considerations.
Newspaper coverage from the Carolinas:
“South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford formally threw his support behind a far-reaching sentencing reform bill Wednesday; a bill that supporters say will reduce the number of non-violent offenders in prison and save the state millions of dollars.
The 94-page bill is expected to reduce the state’s projected prison population enough to negate the need for a new prison — saving more than $400 million over five years. It’s designed to increase training for nonviolent offenders to re-enter society without becoming repeat offenders. And it defines a laundry list of crimes as “violent,” including many sex crimes against children.”
N.C. joins effort to cut crime costs
“Gov. Bev Perdue cited figures showing that the state prison population grew by one quarter between 2000 and 2008, while North Carolina’s spending on corrections nearly doubled. If that rate of growth continues over the next decade, the state will need to build 8,500 more prison beds, costing about $2 billion.
“You can’t build prisons fast enough,” the governor said. “The question I ask, as a mama and a grandmama, is do I want to spend all our new money on prisons, or do I want to spend our new money on education and jobs.”
Crime in America.Net
Growth in Prison Populations Slowing at /http://crimeinamerica.net/2009/07/24/growth-in-prison-and-jail-populations-slowing/