Maureen Hayden has a column entitled Criminal Code reform legislation will need funding to work. She notes that there is a major piece missing from the criminal code reform bill still pending before the General Assembly: money to make it work.
One of the bill’s original goals was to divert low-level, non-violent offenders out of state prisons, where the worst offenders belong, and into community-based programs proven to reduce recidivism.
But with just days to go before the session’s end, nowhere in the legislation or the $30 billion budget bill are the dollars for local jails and community correction facilities to run the drug rehabilitation programs that criminal justice experts say are needed to make a real dent in crime.
One of my critiques of the State’s budget balancing is that it has been done on the backs of local governments – cutting or freezing local funding while continuing to mandate certain services. This has the look of more of the same. You can’t have state legislation that has state court judges sentencing offenders to local programs without also providing funding for those programs.