The Department of Justice and Public Safety (JPS) would see a 3.8% reduction in its budget if the Senate’s budget passed as it currently stands.
The majority of the expansions and reductions occur within the Department of Corrections, which is the largest department in JPS. Many of the shifts in allocation of funds occurred in the budgets dealing with inmate medical matters.
The Senate budget plan differs from the Governor’s recommended budget changes on a few notable issues. For instance, the Senate’s proposed budget does not include the $4.7 million expansion in matching state funds for the Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders (VIPER) included in the Governor’s proposal. Furthermore, the Senate does not include reductions of $7.6 million to the Eckerd Wilderness Camp Program. Meanwhile, the Senate plan includes a $39 million reduction due to a lower-than-projected inmate population, an adjustment not included in the Governor’s budget.
Significant expansions and reductions include:
- $9.77 million to the operating reserves at the Central and Women Prisons’ hospitals
- $2.35 million to Prisoner Education program. This helps pay for tuition for inmates in Community College programs.
- $2.2 million to restore the Sentencing Services program, which seeks to find “alternative” punishments to incarceration for convicted criminals
- $39 million from the Department of Corrections because of a lower-than-projected inmate population
- $20.5 million reduction from linking inmate medical costs to a fee schedule based on rates authorized by Medicaid. This was also included in the Governor’s proposed budget.
- $5 million from the technology services program and administration budgets of the Judicial Department
- $5.75 million from the Private Assigned Counsel (PAC) Continuation Budget. This budget goes to private legal counsel who have been assigned to provide indigent legal services