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What is the Business of Corrections? Criminal Justice Sanction, Public Welfare, or Economic Development.

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Presentation on theme: "What is the Business of Corrections? Criminal Justice Sanction, Public Welfare, or Economic Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is the Business of Corrections? Criminal Justice Sanction, Public Welfare, or Economic Development

2 What is Public Policy? It is the articulated principle, plan or course of action by which government defines WHAT it intends to accomplish and WHY that is important. STRATEGY It is differentiated from agency or organization policy which describes HOW the public policy is to be accomplished. TACTICS

3 Why is it hard to craft “Good” Public Policy? We don’t all perceive the world the same way. Cultural values vary from community to community. There are competing self interests. Emotions drive decisions Lack of knowing what to do with the knowledge that exists. We don’t want to be bothered with Policy. Fear of making a decision that will cost me my job.

4 Public Policy Is Revisited. There is a tendency to at least tinker with established Public Policy, even when it works. We become aware of the impact of one Public Policy on another, after the fact. We may become aware that a Public Policy doesn’t accomplish what it “promised” and deliberately make changes. In the best case we learn more and make knowledge driven decisions.

5 Public Policy may confuse Labels. Public Policy, when examined, may seem to contradict the expressed political position of the proponents. The extremes of the political spectrum may agree on a Public Policy if they both agree on the WHAT even if they each have very different WHYs.

6 Three Results of Public Policy. Intended Consequences – We get what we said we would get. Unintended Consequences – We get what we said we didn’t want to get. Unanticipated consequences – We get something totally different from what was intended. Now we have to decide whether we like the result enough to keep the policy.

7 Influences that pushed a Policy Shift mid 1970 to mid 1980 By the late 1970s the crime rate that had been level for decades began to rise. There were theories but no science of why. There was frustration that offenders were getting out “too soon” for “the crime.” There was extensive sentencing disparity. Discretionary parole decisions meant the sentence wasn’t really the sentence.

8 Influences that pushed a Policy Shift mid 1970 to mid 1980 Lower general consumer confidence may make us less tolerant, more personally threatened. As a result of the “nothing works” quote attributed to Martinson, new theories got attention. If Corrections couldn’t correct maybe it could control.

9 Shifts in Sentencing Policy Determinate sentencing increasingly replaced indeterminate and was later joined by minimum mandatory sentences, reducing judicial discretion. Based on State experience, Congress passed the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 which created the process for Federal Sentencing Guidelines to reduce sentencing disparity. Paroling Authorities found their discretion reduced or eliminated.

10 Shifts in Corrections – Agency Policy If “correcting” through rehabilitation didn’t work, Corrections could “control” by confinement. Anything other than confinement was described as an “alternative” suggesting it was not the real sanction of choice. Educational requirements for hiring probation and parole officers were determined to be indefensible and were reduced or replaced by experience.

11 Shifts in Corrections - Agency Policy Probation and Parole increasingly took on a law enforcement culture. One state P&P organization had themselves designated by the state legislature a Class A Law Enforcement Agency comparable to the State Police. The job became catching violations of Probation or Parole rather than confronting or correcting the behavior. It became known as “trail’m, nail’m and jail’m.”

12 Shifts in Corrections – Agency Policy Violation was equated with return to custody both by the Courts and Paroling Authorities until the concept of Intermediate Sanctions was adopted. With the replacement of discretionary parole by mandatory release, the Paroling Authorities role essentially became one of deciding when to retake.

13 Public Policies Confounding Corrections The policy to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill population beginning in earnest in the 1970s has led to hospital emergency rooms and the local detention facilities becoming primary care providers, Prisons long term care. Persons addicted to the use of substances defined as “illegal” became a Corrections issue rather than one of Behavioral Health.

14 Public Policies Confounding Corrections Public Policy makers began to dictate Agency Policy at State and County Government levels based on personal perception as opposed to knowledge, correctional experience or research findings (i.e. Scared Straight and Boot Camp). Some States permitted the creation of Public Policy through emotionally driven referenda. These “laws” had no fiscal note.

15 Organizational Policies Confounding Corrections Some “therapeutic courts” had difficulty knowing when they were in the criminal justice business and when they were in the treatment business. General trends in “women’s equality” meant increased criminal sanction and correctional agency policy designed for men applied to directly to women.

16 Economic Policy Impact on Corrections Through the 1970s most new prisons were funded by appropriation or general obligation bonds. By the 1990s there was an increasing use of revenue bonds, certificates of participation and real estate investment trusts. These latter financing instruments were funded by anticipated revenue rather than the good faith and credit of the unit of government.

17 Economic Policy Impact on Corrections These new, creative financing strategies were “betting on the come,” assuming the populations could only go one direction, up. They did not require voter approval, like general obligation bonds. They did not count against the jurisdictions credit limit. (Sounds like the private housing financing market.)

18 The Economies Influence on Siting Through the 1970s siting new prisons in rural areas was difficult with an estimate of 4 per year across the country. NIMBY Rural sitings increased to an annual figure of 16 per year during the 1980s and 25 per year during the 1990s States like California and Texas developed prototypes in order to build more efficiently, meaning faster and cheaper.

19 The Economies Influence on Siting During the decade of the 1990s, 245 prisons were built in rural, small town communities – one of these new prisons opened every 15 days. The sitings were in communities that were loosing old business with little opportunity for new. This appeared to be a recession proof industry.

20 The Economies Influence on Siting Financing was readily available whether to the community to build their own spec prison or to entice a government funded facility or privately operated institution. Communities now began competing with one another to attract construction and operation of facilities. Community policy makers provided incentives for siting in their community.

21 The Economies Influence on Siting Many assumptions were made that didn’t necessarily materialize: The number of new jobs filled locally The volume of local recurring business The multiplication of the payroll locally This industry is here to stay

22 Winds of Change After three decades of rapid expansion of confinement, there appears to be change in the trend to ever higher numbers incarcerated. The long term reported crime trend from the 1990s to present has been a steady decline. The “Great Recession” from the end of 2007 through the end of the decade caused many state and local units of government to question how much “confinement” they could financially afford.

23 Winds of Change Some Correctional Systems began to claim a role in the trend through their implementation of Evidence Based Policy & Practice. State and local governments asked for “more evidence” to inform their appropriation investments in options other than confinement.

24 Winds of Change Private Foundations began to fund research and Public Policy Initiatives intended to reduce the reliance on incarceration. State Prison numbers are down sufficiently for the third year in a row, as a result, correctional institutions are being closed in more than a dozen states. The Federal Prison System is the largest correctional system that continues to expand the number of institutions.

25 Opposition to Those Winds Those Public Policy makers and people lobbying them, who are convinced the lower crime rates are directly attributable to the level of confinement in their jurisdiction. Those people whose livelihood is dependent on their local correctional institution. Public Policy makers whose political viability is tied to retaining or growing the Prison Industry.

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