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COURTS & CORRECTIONS

Courts & Corrections

Corrections spending currently accounts for $53.3 billion in state budget expenditures nationwide, with the majority of funding going toward prisons. In 2011, corrections took up 7.5 percent of all state general fund expenditures, but that is often before taking into account the large staffing costs. States are looking at cost cutting measures from sentencing reform to virtual parole offices, and states are also cutting court budgets.

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    • HEADLINES: New York

      Watchdog: State raids legal funds for poor

      Rochester Democrat & Chronicle | by Gary Craig | March 25, 2014

      As counties like Monroe struggle to cover the cost of legal defense for the poor, state lawmakers have been raiding tens of millions of dollars from a fund designated for that very purpose.

    • HEADLINES

      Little-Known Health Act Fact: Prison Inmates Are Signing Up

      New York Times | by Erica Goode | March 11, 2014

      In a little-noticed outcome of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults — a major part of the prison population.

    • HEADLINES: Illinois

      Case before high court could shake public unions

      Sacramento Bee | by Jon Ortiz | January 24, 2014

      Maybe you haven’t heard about Harris v. Quinn, but you will, especially if the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling dooms public-employee collective bargaining.

    • RESEARCH: Texas

      Report to the Governor and Legislative Budget Board on the Monitoring of Community Supervision Diversion Funds

      Texas Department of Criminal Justice | December 1, 2013

      Recent Legislatures in Texas have diverted some funding from state lockups to community-based supervision and diversions. Reallocating funding in this way continues to better protect the public safety and reduce crime, as a recent report details.

    • HEADLINES

      State spending on prison health care is exploding. Here's why.

      Washington Post | by Niraj Chokshi | November 1, 2013

      Health care and prisons are two of the biggest drivers of state spending. So, when you throw them together you get… a whole lot of state spending.

    • HEADLINES: Kansas

      State GOP leader responds to court budget concerns

      KFDI.com | September 30, 2013

      A top Senate Republican is suggesting to a court-appointed budget panel that there are other options available to prevent cuts in operations of the Kansas judicial system.

    • HEADLINES: Kansas

      Chief justice: Furloughs looming to offset budget shortcoming

      The Topeka Capital-Journal | by John Hanna | September 20, 2013

      Kansas might have to close its courts for seven weeks during the fiscal year starting in July 2014 because the judicial branch budget approved by legislators this year is inadequate, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said Thursday.

    • HEADLINES: Indiana

      Pence announces larger state budget surplus than expected

      WTHR.com | July 12, 2013

      The state's bottom line shows $483 million in the black. That is $93 million more than the budget bill projected. 

    • HEADLINES: North Carolina

      State budget plans expand rural-urban divide

      News & Observer | by Lynn Bonner | June 14, 2013

      During debates on taxes and spending, rural lawmakers begged to keep job-rich prisons operating.

    • HEADLINES: Montana

      Legislators, Bullock finalize state budget, spending deal

      The Missoulian | by Mike Dennison | April 24, 2013

      The deal, crammed into an obscure Senate budget bill shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday, adds another $13.5 million to the state's $10 billion, two-year budget, including $2 million each for the Corrections, Public Health and Human Services, and Commerce departments.


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    • RESEARCH: Texas

      Report to the Governor and Legislative Budget Board on the Monitoring of Community Supervision Diversion Funds

      Texas Department of Criminal Justice | December 1, 2013

      Recent Legislatures in Texas have diverted some funding from state lockups to community-based supervision and diversions. Reallocating funding in this way continues to better protect the public safety and reduce crime, as a recent report details.

    • RESEARCH

      Forecasting the Recovery from the Great Recession: Is This Time Different?

      The National Bureau of Economic Research | by Kathryn Dominguez & Matthew Shapiro | February 4, 2013

      Was the slow recovery of the U.S. economy from the trough of the Great Recession anticipated? 

    • RESEARCH

      Risk/Needs Assessment 101: Science Reveals New Tools to Manage Offenders

      The Pew Center on the States | March 14, 2012

      After decades of experience managing offenders and analyzing data, practitioners and researchers have identified key factors that can help predict the likelihood of an individual returning to crime, violence or drug use. When developed and used correctly, these risk/needs assessment tools can help criminal justice officials appropriately classify offenders and target interventions to reduce recidivism, improve public safety and cut costs.

    • RESEARCH

      Reallocating Justice Resources

      Vera Institute of Justice and the Pew Center on the States | by Lauren-Brooke Eisen, Juliene James | March 1, 2012

      Most states are facing budget crises as they plan FY 2013 and beyond. With fewer dollars available, state criminal justice agencies are challenged to increase public safety while coping with smaller budgets. This report distills lessons from 14 states that passed research-driven sentencing and corrections reform in 2011 and is based on interviews with stakeholders and experts, and the experience of technical assistance staff at the Vera Institute of Justice. It is intended to serve as a guide to policy makers and others interested in pursuing evidence-based justice reform in their jurisdiction.

    • RESEARCH

      The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers

      Vera Institute of Justice and the Pew Center on the States | by Christian Henrichson & Ruth Delaney | January 2, 2012

      Researchers found that the total taxpayer cost of prisons in the 40 states that participated in this study was 13.9 percent higher than the cost reflected in those states' combined corrections budgets. The total price to taxpayers was $39 billion, $5.4 billion more than the $33.6 billion reflected in corrections budgets alone.

    • RESEARCH: Tennessee

      2011 Tennessee Pork Report

      The Tennessee Center for Policy Rsearch and Citizens Against Government Waste | by Justin Owen, Christopher Butler, & Ryan Turbeville | December 2, 2011

      The sixth-annual Tennessee Pork Report is chock-full yet again, of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of taxpayer money by state and local government officials. Despite a changing political landscape in Tennessee, wasteful government spending has not disappeared.

    • SOLUTIONS

      The Case for Reform: Prisons

      Right on Crime | August 1, 2012

      Prisons are supremely important, but they are also a supremely expensive government program, and thus prison systems must be held to the highest standards of accountability.

    • SOLUTIONS

      The Case for Reform: Adult Probation

      Right on Crime | August 1, 2012
    • SOLUTIONS

      Risk/Needs Assessment 101: Science Reveals New Tools to Manage Offenders

      The Pew Center on the States | March 14, 2012

      State policy makers across the country are putting research into action by passing legislation that requires their courts and corrections agencies to use evidence-based practices. over the past few years, a number of states have passed comprehensive corrections reform packages that require the use of risk/needs assessment and are projected to save taxpayers millions of dollars.

    • SOLUTIONS: Georgia

      Eight Affordable Ideas for Georgia

      The Georgia Public Policy Foundation | by Eight Affordable Ideas for Georgia | December 2, 2011

      Georgia should continue to push the reforms that have made this one of the best managed states in the nation, but innovation is the best opportunity for true reform. Tax, regulatory and tort reform will create the right conditions for innovation in the private sector while the state pursues innovation in the areas of criminal justice, education and heath care.

    • SOLUTIONS: New Mexico

      Resolving New Mexicoís $450 million Deficit (without raising taxes or cutting K-12 education and Medicaid)

      The Rio Grande Foundation | by Paul J. Gessing and Kevin Rollins | October 31, 2011

      despite constraints that are both political and self-imposed, we believe that it is quite possible to reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending throughout the New Mexico budget. In order to provide a guide for policymakers, the Rio Grande Foundation has compiled a list of specific budget reduction ideas.

    • SOLUTIONS

      A Plan to Reduce Prison Overcrowding and Violent Crime

      The overcrowding of prisons and the breakdown of the parole and probation system has become a serious problem in America. Criminals released early from prison-in order to relieve overcrowding-are often poorly supervised and free to commit new crimes once they are back on the streets.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Rewarding Results: Measuring and Incentivizing Performance in Corrections

      Texas Public Policy Foundation | February 8, 2011

      In corrections, there is a strong public interest in producing the greatest reduction in crime-particularly the most serious crimes-for every dollar spent. Conversely, the criminal justice system should cost-ef ectively maximize positive outcomes such as victim restitution, victim satisfaction, and the employment of of enders as productive citizens.

    • SOLUTIONS

      The Role of Risk Assessment in Enhancing Public Safety and Efficiency in Texas Corrections

      Texas Public Policy Foundation | February 8, 2011

      With limited corrections resources, how can Texas best protect public safety and reform offenders with every dollar spent? One answer lies in the more ef ective use of risk assessment for the more than half a million adults on probation or parole in Texas.

    • SOLUTIONS: Nebraska

      Controlling Costs and Protecting Public Safety in The Cornhusker State

      The Platte Institute | by Marc Levin & Vikrant Reddy | February 2, 2011

      There are many solutions consistent with the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and public safety that have proven successful in empirical research and in practice on a limited basis, iincluding geriatric parole, expanding problem-solving courts, and creating clear criteria so that existing community-based residential corrections beds are used for diverting appropriate offenders from prison rather than as an add-on for offenders who can be safely supervised on basic probation. Also, spreading the use of evidence-based practices, such as graduated sanctions in probation, can increase compliance and thereby reduce probation revocations. This paper includes a list of such recommendations to further improve corrections in Nebraska, address the state’s estimated $968 million budget shortfall, and ensure that public safety is not compromised.

    • SOLUTIONS

      ALEC Information on Prison Overcrowding

      January 28, 2011

      To address prison overcrowding, lawmakers should consider a new  program called "Conditional Post-Conviction Release Bonding." This ALEC concept would allow for the early release of legislatively defined participants from prison-primarily non-violent and juvenile offenders-but require that they post a bond. The bond would be revoked if they did not meet all the requirements of the program.