DJJ Escapes Draconian Budget Cuts, But Still Faces New Belt Tightening

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Governor Nathan Deal’s first State of the State address is making headlines for his promise to end teacher furloughs, prioritize K-12 education, and rescue HOPE scholarships.  A close reading of his new budget plans should also give the 4,200 employees of the Department of Juvenile Justice a little breathing room, but not much. As we reported last week, the agency has already lost more than 20% of its funding in the last 3 years, and doing more with less.  While the cutting continues, it won’t be as severe as it might have been.  Here are the numbers for both the amended 2011 budget and the 2012 budget:

The amended FY2011 budget calls for 4% in reductions, totaling $10.5 Million.

Eleven full time positions will be sliced agency wide, but nine of those are currently vacant.

Youth Detention Centers face about $3.3Million in cuts, including:

  • Hiring freeze to save $1.25 Million.
  • Eliminating paid overtime to save $470,000
  • Funding cut for 14 motor vehicles  to save $84,800

Regional Youth Detention Centers will lose about $2.6 Million. Some highlights:

  • Cutting one education supervisor post to save $95,000
  • Cutting one regional principle job to save $109,600
  • Increasing class size in 9 RYDC basic education programs  to save $825,000
  • Hiring freeze to save $250,000
  • Eliminating paid overtime to save $530,000
  • Cutting funds for 14 vehicles  to save $65,700

While the governor’s FY2012 budget calls for 7% cuts at most state agencies, DJJ is targeted for less – only 5.2% or $15.8 Million. DJJ’s funding picture is made worse by the loss of Federal Recovery Act funds totaling almost $29 Million. The governor’s budget replaces some of that money, but not all.

The agency is expected to close two 30-bed Regional Youth Detention Centers on July 1, 2011, but has not revealed which ones.  The savings would total more than $10.7 Million.

Cuts in Non-secure Commitment programs, such as shelters, home detention, tracking services, electronic monitoring and other community programs could save about $6.5 Million.

The Community Supervision budget is expected to lose $4.2 Million with changes such as:

  • Eliminating two full time positions to save $68,000
  • Freezing new hires to save $1.2Million
  • Realigning state funds for residential placements to save close to $1.7 Million
  • Cut regular operating expenses by more than $541,000

Youth Detention Centers are targeted for $7.5 Million in savings. Plans include:

  • Hiring freeze to save almost $1 Million
  • No paid overtime to save $470,000

Regional Youth Detention Centers must save $4.5 Million, including:

  • Elimination of one education supervisor for $122,000
  • Cutting one regional principal at $147,000
  • Hiring Freeze to save $194,000
  • No paid overtime to save $530,000
  • Increasing class sizes in 9 RYDCs to save $1.1 Million

Some observers are wondering why DJJ does not have to cut as much as other state agencies next year.  There is some speculation that deeper cuts might have forced a whole new set of policy decisions affecting kids in trouble, and the agency mandated to help them.

If you would like to dig into the budget and you have the patience to wade through hundreds of pages, here’s the link to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.

One thought on “DJJ Escapes Draconian Budget Cuts, But Still Faces New Belt Tightening

  1. Im curious as to how long Bill E. Ireland was going to continue to operate considering there are no kids and there is a budget cut issue in Ga.?