January 31, 2008
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
TALLAHASSEE — Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough today praised Governor Charlie Crist’s budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2008-09. The Governor’s proposals include $2.8 billion for the Department of Corrections.
“I’m pleased that the Governor has recommended fully funding the Department of Corrections’ substance abuse treatment programs, which will ultimately save millions by reducing recidivism by probationers and inmates alike,” said Department of Corrections Secretary James R. McDonough. “Currently, 65 percent of all inmates and 57 percent of those on supervision have a significant substance abuse problem and are in need of treatment. This increased funding will aid in our fight to reduce recidivism through treatment and education.”
The recommendations represent a major initiative to reduce offender recommitment rates, saving taxpayers $306 million in prison construction costs next fiscal year. The goal is to encourage substance abuse treatment to prevent future infractions and a return to prison, thereby reducing the need for additional prison beds.
The Crist/Kottkamp budget promotes the Department’s mission to “protect the public safety, to ensure the safety of Department personnel, and to provide proper care and supervision of all offenders under our jurisdiction while assisting, as appropriate, their reentry into society.” Highlights of the $2.8 billion in recommendations for Corrections include the following:
The recommendation includes funding to address projected increases in the state’s prison population, while ensuring that inmates continue to serve a minimum of 85 percent of their sentences. The prison population is expected to exceed 100,000 inmates by November 2008, according to the Criminal Justice Estimating Conference.
This bold approach acknowledges the need for treatment of inmates and probationers with substance abuse problems, making them less likely to return to prison.