|Nov 21, 2020
|Criminal Justice: General, Criminal Justice: Incarceration
This policy brief presents data on the makeup of the Erie County jail population, which has reduced by 48% since 2017. It examines the capacity of both jails and determines that one jail could be closed, with savings redirected to other community-based harm reduction services.
The brief compares Erie County spending on jails with spending on mental and public health, and makes recommendations for County leaders to further reduce the jail population, capture the savings of decarceration, and solicit public input into the jail closure process.
This policy brief was drafted by Colleen Kristich, LMSW, a Community Researcher at Partnership for Public Good.
"Shrinking Jails, Rising Costs: Erie County's Wasteful Jail Budget," analyzes the dramatic decline in the county jail population and compares county spending on jails with spending on mental and public health.
The brief finds:
The Erie County jail population is shrinking rapidly.
Jail spending does not reflect this change, and fails to capture the savings of a smaller population.
The policy brief recommends steps that the County Legislature, County Executive, and County Sheriff can take to right-size the budget and reinvest in community health and community-based harm reduction services.