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Members of the City Council,
In my capacity Commissioner of Community Corrections,and as requested by the council, I have conducted an evaluation of the full range of issues and alternatives surrounding the effectiveness and risks associated with early and pre-release parole programs within our jurisdiction. In the wake of budget cuts across our criminal justice system, we must work more efficiently while also ensuring the continued safety of our community. The increasing costs and demands on our correctional system mandate that we invest in comprehensive prisoner reentry initiatives as part of our public safety strategy. In response to these challenges, I am pleased to present this report on the impact of reductions in corrections spending and the early release of prisoners. I believe you will find this report beneficial to our local efforts to assist offenders reenter society and become law-abiding citizens.
The goal of our correctional program is to increase the chances that released offenders will successfully reintegrate into society. At all levels of government the current economic crisis has caused severe budget shortfalls-particularly strained is our correctional system. As we look for ways to reduce our spending on correctional programs, including the acceleration of prisoner early-release we need to consider the potential backlash against such “early release” proposals.
Statement number 2.
The effectiveness of the early-release and pre-release programs has multiple benefits for the community and for the correctional systems. The early-release programs have helped save cost on prisoner containment in prison. By using the good time system, the state and community will benefit from not having low level offenders remain incarcerated costing the both much more money.
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The public tends to react better to early release for minor or less severe crimes, instead of inmates who have a severe violent criminal history. Once again the cost savings for post release supervision and monitoring outweighs the cost for keeping a prisoner incarcerated for a lesser crime, or if that person has completed rehabilitating programs while incarcerated. The study of parole board decision making in Nebraska showed that parole-eligible inmates who were denied parole were more likely to comply with institutional rules and behave well following their parole denials. This study shows that their could be a deterrence of recidivism from parolee’s with an early release.