| April 25, 2012

State could save millions at the Department of Corrections

Following is an excerpt from OCPA’s Proposed State Budget for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2013.

With Oklahoma government spending at an all-time high (see chart), the time has come to set priorities and to exercise spending discipline.

Lawmakers trying to be “right on crime” are making the right moves regarding corrections reform. Efforts should continue to reduce incarceration rates and strengthen families. These and other efforts to significantly reduce the incarceration of non-violent offenders are what’s best for society and also save millions in taxpayer dollars.

The Department of Corrections (DOC)—like the Tourism Department, Office of Juvenile Affairs, and many other state-operated services—can utilize the private sector to reduce the cost of providing state services. If the DOC would fully utilize the available private prison beds (“halfway” houses) as authorized by law, the state could save approximately $34 million a year (based on state costs per bed in 2009).

The potential savings from implementing such reforms would be more than $34 million annually.

Submitted each year by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Inc. to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma and their elected Officials, the OCPA “Budget Book” is carefully crafted by Fiscal Policy Director Jonathan Small to help lawmakers set priorities and exercise spending discipline while creating a state budget that respects your family budget. Offering unmatched fiscal policy analysis and recommendations, Small draws on his experiences as a former budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, former fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and former director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department to provide perspective on the state budget that you cannot find anywhere else.

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