Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Perry criminal justice budget skimps on funding solutions

Here's Gov. Perry's new proposed budget, both the press release version and the whole thing (pdf), and here's what jumped out at me:

Despite his support for treatment programs in today's State of the State speech, the Governor proposed about 90% less money for treatment programs than recent legislative proposals.

I don't see anything in Perry's budget about increased prison guard pay, and nothing about revamping probation funding to make it less reliant on per-probationer stipends. Nothing to assist with local county jail overcrowding. Nothing to address the backlog of mentally ill defendants in county jails waiting for state hospital space to open up.

He even proposed an 11 percent decrease in the budget for the Texas Commission on Jail Standards at a time when Texas is undergoing a jail building boom.

In a chart on p. 35 detailing overall agency increases and budget reductions, Perry actually proposed slashing funding for the Texas Youth Commission by $56 million from their base budget, or about 11% of the total - this for an agency with such massive budget shortfalls that even Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden, perhaps that chambers' biggest budget hawk, thinks TYC's funding must be dramatically increased.

Bottom line: Like his speech today, Governor Perry's budget addresses Texas' biggest criminal justice problems primarily by ignoring them. The Legislature cannot afford to do the same.


Anonymous said...

Great job, GUV, again you screw the very people charged with PROTECTING the community that elected you! It's about time that all probation/parole and corrections officers join together and force CHANGE though a union/association of Texas corrections professionals!! Gov. Perry, maybe you can get rid of all the deadwood in AUSTIN and use the money to help rehabiltate the substance abusers, lower the prison population and PAY state employees a reasonable wage! By the way, Why did probation departments reurn $24.9 million last year??????????????????

Anonymous said...

Don't blame the Governor, put the blame where it belongs....on those advising him! This state should change it's name to "The Great State of Confusion"! It starts in Austin and then moves down to the Counties. No one wants to listen to the ones who work in the trenches and actually know HOW to fix the problems.

Anonymous said...

Please sign the petition to help TDCJ emoployees out and get them a pay raise!