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LCO No.: 10091

OFA Fiscal Note


Section 501

This section of the amendment would result in an annual cost estimated to be $9.6 million - $23.4 million to enhance supervision and expand services for certain offenders under probation supervision.

Probation Caseload

The amendment requires adult probation officers supervising offenders under age 21 to maintain caseloads of no more than 30 clients. At present, there are 5, 203 clients between the ages of 16 and 20 years old under active probation supervision (excluding 3, 019 clients under administrative supervision or with outstanding warrants) . Approximately 50 more probation officer positions would be needed, in addition to existing and budgeted positions, to maintain the caseload limits under the amendment. The estimated annual cost of these additional positions is $3.6 million including salaries, fringe benefits and expenses. An initial cost of about $165, 000 would be incurred to purchase equipment for these probation officers.

Mental Health Evaluations

The amendment requires the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Judicial Department to give each offender between the ages of 16 and 20 a mental health evaluation. The contractual cost for a juvenile mental health evaluation is $616 per evaluation. The net annual increase in evaluations under the amendment is estimated to be 2, 602.1 The annual cost to perform mental health evaluations under the amendment is estimated to be $1.6 million. In addition to the annualized cost of $1.6 million, the CSSD would incur an initial year cost of $3.2 million to provide mental health evaluations for each of the approximate 5, 203 offenders under probation supervision currently.

Employment Program

In addition, the amendment requires the Department of Labor to develop and fund an employment program for this same group of offenders.  Of the 5, 203 eligible offenders, assuming 50 percent are enrolled in accredited secondary or post-secondary educational programs, the cost for 2, 600 offenders would range from $4.4 million to $18.2 million.  Based on the cost of existing programs that provide life skills, social skills, and job training skills (which are currently limited in number) 2, the cost per offender is estimated between $1, 700 and $7, 000. 

Section 502

Effectively immediately, this section of the amendment transfers ten per cent of the Department of Correction's annual General Fund appropriation to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Judicial Department. The DOC's FY 08 gross General Fund appropriation is $663 million. Under this provision in the amendment, $66 million would be transferred from the DOC to the CSSD in FY 08. Since the Department of Correction is running a deficit in the current fiscal year, it is likely that this transfer would result in an FY 08 deficiency appropriation to the DOC in the amount of $66 million.

The $66 million transfer to the CSSD would support preventive programs and services, including the types of services required under Section 501, which assist persons under twenty-one years of age who have been convicted of a crime. The extent to which expansion of these services would reduce recidivism among this population and thereby generate cost savings for incarceration cannot be determined at this time.

The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

1 This assumes that clients in this age group serve an average of two years on probation: 5, 203 / 2 = 2, 602.

2 There are currently two vocational programs utilized by the CSSD servicing younger offenders on probation.