May 18, 2016
New CBO report indicates federal statutory sentencing reform would save many, many millions
This new Reuters article, headlined "Congress forecasters see major savings from sentencing reforms," reports on this new report from the Congressional Budget Office providing a "Cost Estimate" on S. 2123, the proposed Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. Here are the basics via the Reuters report:
A criminal justice bill awaiting a vote by the U.S. Senate would reduce federal prison costs by $722 million over the next 10 years by releasing thousands of federal prisoners early, congressional forecasters said on Wednesday.
Federal benefits received by the newly released prisoners would increase direct spending by $251 million and reduce revenues by $8 million over the same period, according to the estimate by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.
The new savings estimate buoyed supporters of the bipartisan measure to lower mandatory minimum sentences for some non-violent federal drug offenders, which is central to President Barack Obama's efforts to overhaul the country's federal criminal justice system and reduce prison overcrowding.
"We have an obligation to change the way we think about incarceration, and today’s CBO report shows that we have a fiscal obligation as well," said the bill's co-authors, U.S. senators Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Richard Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, in a statement.
The bill was revised last month to exclude prisoners convicted of violent crimes in an effort to garner more support among conservatives.
May 18, 2016 at 05:10 PM | Permalink
The bill appears to save no money at all. First, $722 million over 10 years (an average of 72 m per year at an agency that spends 8.2 billion per year) is a small amount compared to other proposals and to other policy changes like all drugs minus two. Second, the score does not estimate the cost of the programming that the bill is supposed to add in the BOP to reduce recidivism. Finally, the score was done before additional changes were negotiated, which will reduce the savings. I bet this bill actually costs money, which is not the trail blazed by the states.
Posted by: thinkaboutit | May 19, 2016 12:36:54 AM
RE: "The new savings estimate buoyed supporters of the bipartisan measure to lower mandatory minimum sentences for some non-violent federal drug offenders, which is central to President Barack Obama's efforts to overhaul the country's federal criminal justice system and reduce prison overcrowding."
Here we go again, it's all about "non-violent drug crimes". Hello, there are plenty of inmates worthy of lower mandatory minimums or early release who are incarcerated for non-violent crimes that are not drug related. Enough with the "just drugs" already.
Posted by: kat | May 19, 2016 9:53:57 AM
They said the same thing about California and realignment. Even with a substantially reduced prison population, CDCR spent more after three years, not less.
Posted by: David | May 19, 2016 10:03:53 AM