Lane County Officials have struggled with budget woes in recent years and started taking steps this week to reduce community corrections funding. On Monday, the Lane County Public Safety Coordinating Council voted and passed a proposal to slash funding to a variety of correction programs. The Register Guard reported that the proposal would cut more than half the money spent on treating recent ex-prisoners.
The reductions are an attempt to avoid losing jail beds and to make sure parole and probation officers are not overworked. These proposed cuts are set to effect drug and alcohol treatment as well as mental health and other services that are part of helping former prisoners get back on their feet.
The local non-profit, Sponsors, was said to possibly lose up to 52 percent or $513,000. The organization has been a major factor in helping ex-offenders get back on their feet. They recently opened a 72-bed complex for transitional housing.
Lane County officials say they had no choice after finding out about an 8 percent decrease in state funding for the coming years. These cuts will no doubt make it harder for the newly paroled and released to transition back into the community and will likely mean an increase in repeat offenders.
The Lane County Board held a public hearing on Wednesday June 22 and was met with public outcries. Amidst the strong sentiment, KVAL.com reported that the Board managed to appropriate reserve funds and fines gathered from Lane Regional Air Protection Agency to lessen the blow. According to the Lane County twitter account, the board voted 4-1 to approve the 2011-2013 Lane County Community Corrections Plan.