Cost Saving Measures
Legislative Impact Statements. The National Prison Overcrowding Project has
developed or sponsored sixteen working papers addressing issues of overcrowding
and describing and evaluating overcrowding projects in several states. At the
1984 American Corrections Association Congress of Corrections, the director of
the project encouraged corrections professionals to ensure that the solutions
they sought were systemic, holistic ones. He recommended pursuing cooperative
efforts that recognized the interrelatedness of the various parts of the criminal
justice system: law enforcement, judiciary, defense and prosecuting attorneys,
corrections, parole authorities, public, etc. The Kansas Advisory Committee on
Prison Overcrowding reported in its summary that members "felt strongly that a
system-wide perspective had to be taken because the combined but uncoordinated
efforts of the criminal justice system lie at the heart of the problem." One
example of specific action that can be taken in this area is legislation
recently enacted in Arkansas. It requires that certain bills introduced in
either house of their legislature must have a cost impact statement attached to
it before the committee to which it is assigned can take action on it. Bills
included are those which would (a) affect inmate population patterns by imposing
restrictions on inmate release or increasing intake, or (b) affect programs or
services of the Department of Correction.
Volunteer Programs. The Florida Prison Overcrowding Task Force has recommended
that the legislature "provide resources to solicit and coordinate volunteer
programs at each youthful offender institution." The Arkansas Department of
Correction includes a division of volunteer services which reported it saved the
Department $40,000 in 1983, an amount equivalent to more than 1000 hours at that
state s minimum wage.
Private Sector Contracting. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections contracts
with a variety of private agencies for services. One recent agreement which
promises to provide outstanding training opportunities for some female inmates
is the contract which establishes an extension of the Howard Johnson reservation
center at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. Other contract services range
from therapy for sex offenders to computer data entry for administrative needs.
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