This year’s global pandemic and attendant budget tightening have created a need to find sensible ways to reduce spending in the corrections system while still protecting public safety.

Key points:

  • Largely unprecedented responses to COVID-19 taken by individuals and governments have caused deep and broadly felt shocks to national and state economies.
  • The need for “prudent fiscal management” in light of projected tax revenue shortfalls moved state leaders to request 5% budget reductions by some state agencies for the 2020-2021 biennium.
  • The Department of Criminal Justice has identified about $306 million in cost savings in its FY 2022-23 Legislative Appropriations Request.
  • Proposed reforms to technical violations, expansion of diligent participation credits, and enacting presumptive supervision for some drug offenses can help save money while improving public safety.
  • A lack of available state data regarding many aspects of the justice system hinders the ability to faithfully judge the fiscal merits of various criminal justice legislation.