California’s prison system remains under pressure by the courts to curb overcrowding and to shut the revolving door of its prison gates, but without much success, budget and administration figures show.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011-2012 budget specifies $9.1 billion to fill 61,927 positions for California’s prison operations and related local programs. This equates to $55,776.21 spent to incarcerate each of the 163,152 prisoners now under its control.
This year’s budget is about $300 million more than last years; however, Brown’s 2011-2012 State Budget Summary reports that prison officials are struggling to meet their “fiscal responsibilities as a result of a structural budgetary shortfall in various programs.”
To address these shortfalls, prison officials are redirecting available resources based on priority – with security as a primary concern.
Budgetary shortfalls have created:
- Delays in implementing evidence-based programs that could have a positive effect on recidivism rates
- Reductions in prisoner education and work programs
- Non-custody positions held vacant to use salary savings to cover unfunded expenditures
- Deferred maintenance on facility operating equipment
- Freezes placed on purchasing and staff training