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Some Thoughts on Corrections Budgeting


Government correctional obligations have increased significantly over the years due to the increase in prison population.  This growth of course necessitated an increase in staffing and facilities, and these havent always kept pace with the requirements and are in fact lagging behind significantly.

However, after years of attempting to increase prison space, government is now enacting and implementing corrections reforms to bring down the size of the inmate population by attempting to reduce recidivism and introducing alternatives to incarceration.

An overall and lofty aim would be to achieve a decrease in prisons populations since incarceration is more expensive. Data led reforms can successfully measure cost per offender with a view to reducing overcrowding expecially in Pademba prisons.

Variations in inmate to staff ration will tell a story all by itself.  Despite technological advancement possible in the criminal justice system, prisons are labour intensive, requiring 24-7 monitoring.  Prison officers are inadequately paid.

In addition, there are more older persons in jails, increasing healthcare costs including mental health, substance abuse, injuries and chronic communicable diseases.

An increasing number of data-driven literature is calling into question the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

In general, government should target criminal justice reforms to address the cost drivers of correctionals budgets in such a way as not to put public safety at risk.  It should then be possible to utilize saving from better systems to further improve outcomes from the criminal justice system and further fund correctionals budgets.