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NCJ Number: 76786 Find in a Library
Title: Impact of Diminishing Fiscal Resources on Probation (From American Correctional Association - Proceedings, P 151-157, 1981, Barbara Hadley Olsson and Ann Dargis, ed. - See NCJ-76771)
Author(s): T L Fitzharris
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Assoc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: American Correctional Assoc
206 N. Washington St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the problem of diminishing financial resources in probation departments, including the impacts of resource restrictions and the characteristics of probation in an era of fiscal restraint, and reviews research results on the extent and nature of this problem; California is cited as an example.
Abstract: The problem of diminishing resources in probation exists within the broader context of restrictions on public services in general. Widespread public dissatisfaction with government services and with the tax burden has culminated in actions to limit government spending in a number of jurisdictions. In these jurisdictions, programs with considerably different objectives have been forced to compete for limited funding, less successful programs have failed to survive, and the public work force has had to learn to live with restricted promotional and pay increase opportunities. Probation services also suffer from considerable public criticism about the current treatment of offenders. Because of this criticism, and because of probation departments' dependence on property tax funding, these services in California took deeper funding cuts than other criminal justice agencies under Proposition 13. The results of a National Institute of Corrections survey which covered 528 probation and parole agencies, and developed 16 case studies indicated that the fiscal crunch has not yet been substantially felt in probation departments, although most agencies surveyed indicated that efficiency, effectiveness, or accountability questions were raised during their most recent budget discussions. A 1978 national survey by the California Probation, Parole, and Correctional Association indicated that 20 percent of the respondent agencies had experienced severe budgetary cuts. Agencies not cut in States where funding was reduced were very concerned about their future funding. A study conducted by the Foundation for Continuing Education in Correction in 1977 indicated that workloads increased, staff losses were mainly handled by attrition, and nonmandated programs were the first to be cut during budget reductions. Other program losses included private care for minors, placement units, adult residential halfway houses, juvenile institutions, drug abuse education programs, crisis centers, and education or work release programs. Reductions were also experienced in administrative services, clerical support, travel, and capital expenditures. Although the reduction in fiscal support offers positive opportunities for establishing priorities, for reassessment, and for developing accountability, cutback management techniques and strong leadership are needed if probation services are going to survive.
Index Term(s): Budgets; California; Operating costs; Probation; Program financing; State aid; Voter mandated tax cuts
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