Waning Economy Leaves Corrections Budgets Short

Source: Eric Shultz, On the Line, Vol. 32, No. 1, January 2009

As many economists have already stated, the economy is as weak as it has been in decades, and it does not appear as though it will get better any time soon. The financial and auto industries are not the only ones suffering. The effects are being felt all over the country, in almost every industry and seemingly within every organization. The public, private and nonprofit sectors all seem to be tightening their belts, cutting costs and looking for new ways to generate revenue.

States, counties and local governments are being forced to make difficult budget cuts for the new year. The American Correctional Association has attempted to quantify and summarize the effects these cuts will have on corrections by surveying the state departments of correction and juvenile justice. In December 2008, we asked each if they have to make cuts to their current fiscal year budget and, if so, by how much. If they had not, we asked if they expect to have to make future budget cuts. We also asked them to identify the specific areas of operations these cuts would affect, including new construction and/or renovations, staff positions, wages and benefits, travel, staff training, correctional industries, offender education, offender programs such as substance abuse treatment and reentry, and any other cuts. Click here to view the results of this survey.

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