The effects of cutting rehabilitation programs

“Corrections officials say they are committed to enhancing rehabilitation programs to reduce recidivism rates in spite of severe cuts to the department budget.”

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has found that the department has moved millions of dollars out of programs for rehabilitating purposes and poured it into funding prison security.  This transfer goes back to my previous post of the never ending cycle.  Due to the fact that proper rehabilitation programs could reduce recidivism and then reduce the number of people returning to the prisons, the need for more funding in prison security could be reduced.  With that said, correction departments should not transfer their money out of rehabilitation programs because if they had proper programs then they would not need more prison security.  Yes, inmate rehabilitation is very costly, however so is housing and feeding inmates daily and prison security.  Instead the department should invest on the right programs so people are not returning to the prison system.  The department of corrections spends so much extra money that they go over budget.

“Governor Jerry Brown’s budget for 2011-12 provides an additional $395 million to the CDCR for expenses that go beyond its budget authority in previous years.  It includes:”

*$266.5 million in additional funding to support the actual earnings of security staff.

*$55.2 million in additional funding to transport and guard inmates at health care facilities outside prison walls.

*$35.7 million in additional funding for officer overtime.

*$20.5 million in additional funding for legal fees including the cost of settlements.


These figures could be significantly reduced if prison violence and overcrowding was reduced.  One way of reducing both of these issues is through proper, stimulating rehabilitation programs inside the prison and after release.  Thus, reducing recidivism rates.

In total, California’s annual costs to incarcerate an  inmate in prison costs $47,102.  Almost half of that is spent of security with $19,663.  How much is spent of providing substance abuse programs, vocational training, or education?  Only $1,612.  These numbers again support that instead of spending more money on security and finding more rehabilitation programs, than tax payers money could be used elsewhere and recidivism could be reduced.  However, I do acknowledge that making a drastic change in spending would not be beneficial because at the moment prison systems do need more security because of violence.  But, if the department slowly transferring funds then more inmates would be able to participate in good rehab programs.

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