Tags: Voting Rights | illinois | corrections | budget | spending

What Is Percentage of Illinois' Budget Allotted to Corrections?

By    |   Friday, 08 Jan 2016 08:48 PM

Illinois ended the 2015 fiscal year July 1 in the red and projected more deficits in 2016, which is why Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a cost-cutting strategy for corrections spending.

Illinois' budget spending, which accounted for less than 2 percent of the overall state budget, should decrease over the next decade if Rauner’s expectations are met.

The trend on what percentage of the state budget is spent on corrections has been lowering since 2009 when 3 percent of the budget went to operating the prisons, but by 2013 that percentage had dropped to 2.1 percent, according to the most current data collected by Ballotpedia.

Rauner hopes to drive those percentages lower.

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Illinois increased its corrections spending by about $4 billion between 2013 and 2014, an increase of 5.9 percent, but as budget requirements grow, those increases represent smaller percentages overall.

While prisons in the state are overcrowded, operating at about 150 percent of capacity, they require corrections officers to work overtime to accommodate the load. This results in inflated payrolls due to time-and-a half required for overtime payment.

While Rauner’s proposed 2016 budget appears larger at $1.4 billion, up from $1.3 billion last year, it works out to be a smaller percentage of the overall budget because much of the increase will be spent to hire more help, which should result in less paid overtime.

Overtime costs the state one-and-a-half times the usual salary expenditures.

Figured into 2016's $1,479,377,200 budget goals are to add 473 positions to the beleaguered corrections system, which will improve the safety of both correctional staffing and the prisoners. The projected savings should be $10 million.

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Furthermore, Rauner is launching a bipartisan criminal justice reform commission tasked with improving public safety and reducing the prison population by 25 percent in 10 years.

Bryant Jackson-Green at the Illinois Policy Institute, an independent research organization that makes public policy suggestions, said the state will be able to save money if sentencing laws are reformed. Currently, 70 percent of the state’s inmates are serving time for non-violent crimes. Rehabilitation programs versus maximum sentences would be money better spent, Jackson-Green said.

By reducing mandatory sentences and by allowing judges to tailor sentences to the crimes, fewer people would suffer incarceration, and the state would benefit from lower costs, both in prisoner care and employee payroll and benefits.

The state budget document agrees with Jackson-Green’s assessment
. It states the policy reform will require an increase of $10.75 million in general funds to be used for the Adult Redeploy program, an increase of 53 percent from fiscal year 2015.

“By providing better outcomes for those convicted of crimes, these reforms will improve public safety and lower the costs at DOC,” the document states.

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Illinois ended the 2015 fiscal year July 1 in the red and projected more deficits in 2016, which is why Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a cost-cutting strategy for corrections spending. Illinois' budget spending should decrease over the next decade if Rauner’s expectations are met.
illinois, corrections, budget, spending
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2016-48-08
Friday, 08 Jan 2016 08:48 PM
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