Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Budgeting issues in criminal justice systems Essay Example for Free

Budgeting issues in criminal justice systems Essay One of the reasons why jails still exist despite overcrowding is the budget allotted for the criminal justice administration. But the sudden rise in the number of prisoners posed a problem when it comes to budgeting. The article on policies and procedures of correctional facilities operated by the Multnomah County clearly shows that it has been experiencing financial shortage due to faulty budgeting. The article shows that it is very expensive to accommodate a prisoner, which costs $157/day in Multnomah County. This is expensive compared to the rate of jail systems in other counties. This was attributed to the labor contracts which resulted to raised labor costs, extraordinarily high medical costs which led to high cost of the overall system in jail, ineffective jail staffing pattern, abuse of sick leave, overtime and compensatory time and increase in the Sheriff’s budget. Aside from all of these, the Multnomah County has a very expensive juvenile detention facility. It costs $401/day to accommodate a juvenile. The article further shows that the Sheriff’s Office has practiced budgeting techniques which hid the management practices of the organization. This resulted to difficulty of finding out the different organization functions. Even the district attorney’s office has to seek the help of a financial analyst to make sense of the financial outline of the jail system. What the county requires is a program called â€Å"priority-based budgeting. Each department of the jail system must present program offers for the county commissioners to fund. However, some of these program offers are rejected. The Sheriff’s office has a total of 66 funding program offers that the county commission has approved. The priority-based budgeting was applied so that the commissioners can make an informed decision from an accurate financial picture of the different programs. This enabled the commissioners to be knowledgeable in whether funding or rejecting a particular program. The article concluded that the outside help of a financial consultant was necessary to analyze the Sheriff’s costs and budgets. It was noted that â€Å"it is a natural and understandable inclination of a government agency† to do the budgeting practices discussed in the article. The DA’s office thought that similar practices have been done by other government agencies in the county. It was suggested that the commission should collaborate more with the Sheriff. The county commissioners should understand the operations that they fund so that the problems might not occur again. The workgroup of the jail systems should focus on the Sheriff’s cost reporting and budgeting practices so that they can partake in any decisions to make. The commission should also found a work group that will inspect the jails and report frequently to the commissioners. This work group must consist of representatives from the law enforcement agencies in the county, the County Chair, the County Commissioner, the United States Attorney, the administrator for the federal facility at Sheridan, representatives from the business community, a representative from the medical community, the Department of Corrections, an independent financial analyst and the District Attorney. The law also requires that the county should include the state Department of Corrections in every operation of the local jails. However, whatever responsibilities the Department of Corrections is assigned by the law should not be carried out by the Sheriff’s Association. The article strongly advises that a healthy relationship must be established between the county Sheriff and the Board of Commissioners. Any solution to the problems must start from this perspective since all other problems stemmed from a breakdown to that relationship. The other article addressing budgeting issue is titled â€Å"Will part-time prison cut crime or costs? † by Nick Morrison. The article says that British Home Secretary David Blunkett proposed that some inmates be given freedom on weekends to relieve the growing population of prisoners in jails. Those inmates who are dangerous could be provided with electronic tags and they could stay out of jail for a month. They could also work during the week and spend the weekend in jail. Many questioned this proposal whether it is a way to fight the crimes or to cut costs, particularly Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust. He sees this proposal as the government’s admission to defeat in solving crimes, even though Blunkett promised to be tough on car-jackers and phone thieves. Brennan thinks that it has to do with money problems and not reducing crime why Blunkett allowed this kind of arrangement for the prisoners. It was hard for the government to spend a lot of money in keeping prisoners. Moreover, Brennan argued that it is more important to keep the prisoners in jails and out of the streets to protect the victims of crimes and the public, even though it is expensive to do so. Apparently, Blunkett’s proposal did not make this possible. Criminals were allowed on the loose, and they could strike again since they have freedom. With the growing population of prisoners in jails, Brennan says that the criminal justice system is no longer effective. A crisis in the criminal justice system has to appear before people do something to solve it. He recognizes that the problems will be harder to solve later on. Even more, there were less police officers on the beat to prevent crimes even though these crimes have been getting worse for many years now. The government also has not done something to reduce crime. He couldn’t see how Blunkett’s proposal could solve any of the problems. Brennan mentions that the country has more people inside prisons than any countries in Europe. He says it is so because there are more crimes here than anywhere else. The government, he adds, has resorted to different measures to solve the rising number of crimes. Sadly, none of these measures worked, and this showed a â€Å"disgraceful record on crime and law and order. † On the other hand, the Howard League for Penal Reform agreed with Blunkett’s proposal. The spokeswoman says that â€Å"anything †¦to reduce the prison population is a good thing. † She added that the programs set to keep the prisoners with a two or three months term away from their criminal behavior are not often available, that’s why they offend the second time after they are released. The article recommends that a community penalty is more effective as a form of punishment for the prisoners than sending them over to prison. The article quotes Brennan recommending that the government should deal with the crimes head on rather than making lots of promises and pledges that it cannot meet. People should also be aware of these problems and how serious they are so that they can be a part in solving them. Brennan is correct in saying that criminals should be sent to prison whether it is expensive or not. The most important thing to consider here is the protection of the public from these offenders. The government should look more into these problems because this is getting worse every year and it has bad records of crime. The government should also look into the budgeting systems of the federal and local governments. It should consider that budgeting systems can be a part of the ineffective services it offers to the public. Changes in budgeting systems should be an important part in reform. REFERENCES Morrison, Nick. (2002, February 05). Will part-time prison cut crime or costs? Newsquest (North East Ltd. , p. 8. Available at: http://yukon. actx. edu:2083/libweb/curriculum/do/document? set=topicgroupid=1requestid=conquesttopicresultid=48ts=57673F035D3E975120F685A75E3514BA_1187860483640urn=urn%3Abigchalk%3AUS%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B76740234. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. (2006). Independent review of policies and procedures of correctional facilities operated by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. Available at: http://www. mcda. us/articles/GJ_CORRECTIONAL_FACILITIES_2006. pdf.

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