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FY 2018-19 Budget Proposals for Criminal Justice

The House and Senate strongly support Department of Juvenile Justice’s delinquency and diversion, and community interventions programs. The governor provides more adequate funding for inmate health services in the Department of Corrections and residential corrections programs for the Juvenile Justice Department. 

Tachana Joseph
February 2018

In November, Governor Rick Scott released his budget recommendations for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, proposing the largest budget, $87.4 billion, in Florida’s history. The Senate and House Appropriations Committees also revealed their own budgets last month. With criminal justice being a priority for both the executive and the legislative branch this session, this brief will analyze the criminal justice budget, specifically for the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), proposed by the governor, the Senate and the House. Using the agency’s current budget as a baseline, the following paragraphs will outline the most salient differences amongst the budgets and the programs that are implicated.

Current Bottom Line

The table below compares proposed DOC and DJJ funding in the governor’s and chambers’ respective budget proposals, along with current funding levels.

 

Governor’s Recommendations vs. Agency’s Current Budget

The increase in the governor’s budget for the DOC is mainly seen in specialty correctional institutions, health services, adult male custody operations and basic education skills programs. Equally significant is the proposed increase for salaries and benefits for most security and institutional operations programs. On the other hand, the governor’s budget would cut funding for community facility operations by 69 percent and adult offender transition, rehabilitation and support programs by 13 percent. In terms of the DJJ, the governor’s budget would reduce funding for community supervision while giving a significant boost in salaries and benefits to residential corrections, detention centers and probation and community corrections programs.

 

Department of Corrections: The Senate and House Budgets vs. Agency’s Current Budget

There is a 14 million-dollar difference between the two chambers’ budgets for the DOC; the House’s budget is larger than the Senate’s. Although both chambers’ proposed budgets are significantly lower than the governor’s recommendations, they are still allocating more money than this year’s budget.  The House appropriated the lowest amount of funds for community substance abuse prevention, evaluation and treatment services.

The public service and work squads and early transition programs received increased funding from both chambers. Additionally, aligning with the pressing need to combat health problems in the institutions, the House and the Senate have recommended a 12 percent and 8 percent increase for inmate health services, respectively. Salaries and benefits would increase by nearly 5 percent in both budgets. Adult male custody would receive a 3 percent increase from the Senate and a 6 percent boost from the House. Another major source of difference between the Senate and the House is found in basic education skills, where the House would appropriate less than the Senate and decreased Corrections’ current budget by 4 percent.

Department of Juvenile Justice: The Senate and House Budgets vs. Agency’s Current Budget

The House’s total budget for the DJJ is slightly less than current funding levels, while the Senate would provide a 1 percent increase. The budgets varied mostly in the areas of community supervision, intervention and secure and non-secure residential commitment. All of the aforementioned services would receive more funds from the Senate than currently allocated; notably, non-secure residential programs with a 9 percent growth. Whereas, in the House, only community intervention and non-secure residential programs would receive a small increase, and with the largest reduction in community supervision (an 8 percent decrease). Both chambers recommended 3 percent more for salaries and benefit. Delinquency prevention and diversion services would also receive a 5 percent boost from the House and 9 percent from the Senate.

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