The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices held the first in a series of webcasts on strategies aimed at maintaining public safety while reducing corrections expenditures. This webcast was made possible through a partnership with the Pew Charitable Trust Public Safety Performance Project.
The current economic crisis is forcing governors to take dramatic steps to balance state budgets in nearly all categories by laying off employees, cutting services, reducing overtime, and eliminating capital expenditures. However, the storm waters of the budget crisis will not crest until 2009. Tax revenues are forecasted to significantly drop and credit and bond markets will continue to tighten. Given such dire forecasts, governors need to be prepared to make even deeper cuts to core services including healthcare, education, transportation, and corrections. While making across-the-board budget cuts presents many difficult decisions, the challenges associated with making deep cuts to corrections is particularly daunting considering the potential for disastrous public safety outcomes.