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Growing Federal Prison Budget May Force Cuts In DOJ Programs: IG

November 21, 2012 08:20:03 am

Managing federal prisons better was listed by the U.S. Justice Department's Inspector General as the 3rd of the top 10 challenges facing the department, behind national security, and cyber crime. The IG said the "continually growing and aging population of federal inmates and detainees is consuming an ever-larger portion of the department’s budget, making safe and secure incarceration increasingly difficult to provide, and threatening to force significant budgetary and programmatic cuts to other DOJ components in the near future."

The federal prison bureau wants 26 percent of the Justice Department budget this year, up from 22 percent in 2006, yet "conditions in the federal prison system continued to decline" and the outlook for overcrowding is "bleak," says the IG. The report urges a number of reforms, including alternatives to incarceration, more efforts to reduce the high recidivism rate, and transferring more inmates who are foreign nationals, who account for 27 percent of the prison population, to their home countries.

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