Holder Policy Unlikely To Curb Federal Prison Costs In Short Term: IG


“Each year the costs of the federal prison system continue to grow, with no evidence that the cost curve will be broken anytime soon,” says Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who notes a projection that by fiscal year 2018, the Bureau of Prisons will consume more than 28 percent of the entire department’s budget. He quotes Deputy Attorney General James Cole as saying that every dollar spent on prisons is a dollar not spent on “law enforcement efforts aimed at violent crime, drug cartels, public corruption cases, financial fraud cases, human trafficking cases, [and] child exploitation, just to name a few.”

Horowitz said Attorney General Eric Holder’s program to limit the number of defendants facing lengthy prison terms for drug offenses “is unlikely to have a significant short-term impact on prison costs because defendants who qualify for this relief are still likely to face some period of incarceration for their crimes.” Horowitz’ comments came in an annual report on challenges facing the Justice Department, in which federal prisons was first on a list of six. Others included safeguarding national security consistent with civil rights and liberties, protecting taxpayer funds from mismanagement and misuse, and enhancing cybersecurity.

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