Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Monday, March 23, 2009

End Mass Incarceration of Our Youth

TYC has been blasted by lawmakers for spending almost $99,000 per year to incarcerate each juvenile offender, a 40 percent increase in two years when the number of offenders the agency housed dropped by half.


The agency last biennium received about $550 million in state funding, including $100 million in one-time funding to address problems raised in a sex-abuse scandal that brought about sweeping reforms in 2007.

In its initial budget request for the next two years, the agency asked for $463 million, even though the number of incarcerated teenagers under its care had dropped by about half and officials had initiated plans to lay off more than 700 of 4,200 employees.

Also cut: Proposals by the agency to expand the number of beds its operates and leases, to open new regional centers, to expand staffing for the inspector general and ombudsman and to upgrade radios and communications gear, among other initiatives.

Senators noted that the agency has seen its population of incarcerated teenagers drop by nearly half in two years, and said the agency should shrink accordingly.

They cited as proof the estimated $99,000-a-year cost of incarcerating a youth, a $39,000 jump in two years, when the comparable cost of incarcerating an adult is $15,500.

1 comment:

  1. This is certainly true. The cost of the prison system is increasing faster than educational spending and most every other part of state budgets.

    The crime rate has dropped too over the last twenty years, even as spending on prisons consistently increases.

    Some people will claim a cause and effect relationship, saying that the crime rate has dropped because everyone who might have been committing a crime is in prison instead.

    Although the tide may be turning, basically those who believed in more prisons and longer sentences had won the debate hands down until recently, just judging by the increase in the prison population.

    With a new administration in Washington and a rethinking of mandatory sentences for even the most inconsequential infractions, as well as societal realization that the difference between penalties for possession of crack and possession of powder cocaine were unfair and untenable, perhaps we'll begin to see the tide turning in terms of the imprisonment of America.