The House budget plan would reduce overall Justice and Public Safety (JPS) Budget by about 3 percent compared to the spending plan put in place last year.
As with the Senate JPS Budget, the majority of appropriations shifting occurs within the Department of Corrections, the largest department in JPS. The largest reductions come from inmate medical costs and a lower-than-projected inmate population.
The most significant difference between the House and Senate JPS budgets is that the House allocates to the Department of Corrections about $12 million less than the Senate to correct for an inmate population now projected to be lower than the estimates used last when the two-year budget plan was put in place. Corrections, however, would see an increase of 803 full-time positions under the House budget.
Two other notable discrepancies between the House and Senate budgets are the $3.5 million expansion in the House Budget to restore the Samackland Youth Development Center, which is absent from the Senate Budget, and the $2.35 million in the Senate Budget to expand prisoner education not included in the House Budget.
Significant expansions and reductions include:
- $9.77 million to the operating reserves at the Central and Women Prisons’ hospitals as requested in the Governor’s budget proposal
- $3.5 million to restore the Samackland Youth Development Center. This is an alternative correctional facility for juvenile offenders.
- $2.2 million to restore the Sentencing Services program as requested in both the Governor’s and Senate’s spending plans
- $27.2 million from the Department of Corrections because of lower than expected inmate population
- $20.5 million from linking inmate medical costs to a fee schedule based on rates authorized by Medicaid. This reduction was included in the Senate’s and Governor Perdue’s proposals
- $5.75 million from the Private Assigned Counsel (PAC) program. PAC consists of private legal counsel who have been assigned to provide indigent legal services. This reduction was also included in the Senate Budget.
- $5 million from the technology services program and administration budgets of the Judicial Department. This too was included in the Senate Budget.