October 15, 2010
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
Tallahassee - Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil submitted the Department’s $2.4 billion Legislative Budget Request, Friday, October 15, 2010.
“Our efforts to lower prison recidivism rates are starting to pay off,” said Secretary McNeil. “Because of the collective effort of law enforcement, treatment providers, community volunteers, and members of the criminal justice community, Florida continues to see a slowdown in prison admission growth.”
Hovering at around 102,000 inmates, the rate of growth has been less than projected, which is good news. This has provided the Florida Department of Corrections an opportunity to reassess the number, type and distribution of prison beds throughout the system. This offers additional flexibility to redirect existing resources toward more treatment that has shown demonstrated results in reducing crime.
Secretary McNeil’s plan proposes to move inmates and staff from small operations with higher costs to nearby facilities, which results in cost savings through economies of scale. This is accomplished with no disruptions or elimination of services through inmate labor to the community and no job losses or pay reductions.
This plan generates $10 million dollars to fund the department’s top priorities and addresses key recommendations of Florida Tax Watch and the department’s Re-entry Advisory Council.
Money saved will be used to bolster and expand programs that stop the revolving door of recidivism, programs such as: substance abuse treatment, academic and vocational training, GED classes and for department re-entry facilities.
“Given the fact that the majority of inmates will eventually return to our Florida communities, it is important that our citizens know evidence shows targeted substance abuse treatment works and inmates with basic education and skills are less likely to come back to prison,” said Secretary McNeil. “All our efforts make a significant and positive impact on public safety.”
The budget is only a starting point and Secretary McNeil looks forward to working with the new administration, retooling existing resources to get the best outcomes for Florida’s taxpayers.