Where the Waste Is In Corrections

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Andrew Conte and Brad Bumsted:

Pennsylvania’s corrections system spends millions of taxpayer dollars sending nonviolent offenders to prison and does not do enough to help them meet conditions for early release, consultants found.

State taxpayers spent $49 million housing inmates beyond the minimum release dates of sentences for misdemeanors and minor felonies committed in 2010, said the review by The Council of State Government’s Justice Center. The researchers are scheduled to present policy recommendations today to a state committee considering changes to the prison system.

“The whole package will include a substantial amount of money that can be saved, and at the same time, we can improve the system,” said Tony Fabelo, the center’s research director.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed $27.14 billion budget counts on Department of Corrections savings achieved through legislation and agency changes, Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said. Corbett proposed flat funding of slightly less than $2 billion for the department.

The state’s prison population climbed from 7,000 to 51,645 since 1980, in part because of mandatory-minimum sentences, longer prison terms and incarceration of less violent offenders, said Katrina Currie, a policy analyst for the Commonwealth Foundation.

This entry was posted in Budget, Civil Rights.

3 Responses to Where the Waste Is In Corrections

  1. phillydem says:

    We should also be addressing the real problems faced by anyone with a criminal record has in getting a job after they are released. You can’t even do something as simple as be a janitor, groundskeeper, maintenance or cafeteria worker at a local school if you have a record. It’s that way for other jobs as well. If you can’t get a job once you get out of prison, it would sure seem you’d be more likely to commit another crime or have to live hand-to-mouth off odd jobs instead of returning as a productive and tax-paying member of society.

    • Jon says:

      Amen. That’s another problem with the occupational licensing issue. Often can’t get a license if you have a criminal background. As more sectors are licensed, fewer ex-cons can get licit jobs.

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