A reader wants to know of a recent example of budget cuts regarding programs for offenders. There is no systematic analysis of budget cutting on any aspect of the criminal justice system yet newspaper articles are filled with examples, see http://crimeinamerica.net/category/budgetimpact/.
He contacted us in reference to two recent Crime in America.Net articles, namely “Most States Cutting Budgets for Corrections—USA Today Warns That More Cuts May Harm National Crime Reductions” and “First Decline in the U.S. Jail Population since 1982.”
The story on a decline in jail population comes from “Jail Inmates at Midyear 2009” from the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice (link below).
In a category studying jail inmates held outside of the facility, the publication notes that 5,714 inmates were in treatment programs (out of a total population of 687,033) in 2000. In 2009, that number fell to 2,082 (out of a total population of 837,833).
Significant declines (5,717 to 2,082) were also recorded for work related programs from 2000 to 2009.
People find it startling that the vast majority of offenders do not get treatment, see “11 Percent of Prison Inmates Get Drug Treatment: Crime Statistics” under the link noted above. And jails are unique places where most (sixty percent) are held for trial and the rest are serving very short sentences, so jails are not the best examples of places to get treatment or programs of any kind. Yet the reductions in treatment and work programs is significant and probably due to the demand to decrease expenditures.
We can expect additional cuts in bed space and programs in all correctional facilities as jurisdictions struggle with budgets in coming years.
The report, Jail Inmates at Midyear 2009 – Statistical Tables(NCJ 230122), was written by BJS statistician Todd Minton. The report can be found at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2195