Department of Corrections Budget
The Washington State Department of Corrections submitted a budget to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) that includes contingencies for a 15 percent overall reduction in the agency’s spending for the 2015–17 biennium. The agency was directed by OFM to submit scenarios of what would be required to achieve a 15 percent budget reductions to its operations.
“Cuts of more than $270 million from the DOC budget would affect public safety, particularly on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars cut in recent years. However, we recognize the difficult position the state is in and are complying with the direction from OFM,” said Secretary Bernie Warner, who emphasized that these contingency scenarios are just that – contingencies – and are not reflective of any actual planned reductions in caseload or staff.
The submittal includes 11 contingency scenarios that would, in their totality, reduce spending by more than $270 million, largely by cutting the agency’s offender caseload by 4,500 prison inmates and 2,700 offenders under community supervision. These contingency options include scenarios such as: offering earned time for offenders sentenced to community supervision, reducing prison sentences for drug possession, and releasing offenders from prison 150 days early. As requested, the scenarios are prioritized by impact and consequences to the agency.
Warner added that in the DOC submittal, the agency also asked for funding to continue providing leading–edge, progressive correctional practices in Washington state.
“I will continue to personally make the case for our vital mission and the resources that allow us to lead the way in enhancing public safety and administering evidence–based programs that result in positive offender change and reduced recidivism,” said Warner.