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Incarcerations/Budgets Surpass Crime Rate.

Utah's Department of Corrections (DOC) budget between 1976 and 2000 increased by nearly $158.5 million, according to a recent study by the League of Women Voters of Utah. During those 24 years, correctional spending increased from $11.3 million to $169.8 million -- nearly 15-fold.

The study also found that while Utah's crime rate rose only 7 percent from 1984 to 1998, the inmate population skyrocketed 250 percent. The report cites a national political trend toward tougher sentences as part of the reason for the growing prison population.

Housing an increasing prison population is the priority for Utah's correctional budget, according to both the report and Michael Chabries, interim director of the DOC, which means funds are limited for prison programs such as job skills training. Chabries said that although the programs are in place, the resources for training nearly 5,500 inmates are not.

The study also discovered that 75 percent of the inmates eventually released from prison probably will return -- through parole violations or new crimes. According to Chabries, among inmates involved in job skills programs, the recidivism rate drops to 20

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune.
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Title Annotation:budget for the Utah Department of Corrections
Author:Harry, Jennifer L.
Publication:Corrections Compendium
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U8UT
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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