Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime campaign published the paper Prisons and Penny-Pinching: Finding Budget Savings in the Time of COVID-19.

“In light of projected budgetary shortfalls due to suppressed economic activity, Texas state officials called for some agencies and institutions, including the Department of Criminal Justice, to identify savings of 5% in general revenue for the 2020-2021 budget,” said the paper’s author Michael Haugen. “In this paper, the Texas Public Policy Foundation offers several policy recommendations that can help reduce costs while also ensuring improved performance within the state’s finite corrections resources.”

Key Points:

  • Largely unprecedented responses to COVID-19 taken by individuals and governments have caused deep and broadly felt shocks to national and state economies.
  • The need for “prudent fiscal management” in light of projected tax revenue shortfalls moved state leaders to request 5% budget reductions by some state agencies for the 2020-2021 biennium.
  • The Department of Criminal Justice has identified about $306 million in cost savings in its FY 2022-23 Legislative Appropriations Request.
  • Proposed reforms to technical violations, expansion of diligent participation credits, and enacting presumptive supervision for some drug offenses can help save money while improving public safety.
  • A lack of available state data regarding many aspects of the justice system hinders the ability to faithfully judge the fiscal merits of various criminal justice legislation.

To read the paper in full, please visit: