One of the most shocking things that I've noticed since I've been here is the blatant double-speak on the part of the governor in regards to education.
Not only is the governor's budget cutting education by about $53 million (not counting what the state owes schools from not fulfilling the prop 301-required inflation increases for the last few years), but it also increases spending on prisons by about $53 million.
Questions I've asked in Appropriations committee of the Department of Corrections officials about the potential savings we could see by re-alligning probation and rehabilitation services have been just brushed aside.
Here's the crazy part. We pay about $23,000 per prisoner bed per year (according to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council). But parole costs about 19 cents per day -- about $6 per day for complicated behavioral health parolees. So, at its most expensive, we are looking at about $2,700 per year if we can move non-violent offenders away from the never-ending cycle of recidivism that is or prison system.
It is heartening to see that there is bi-partisan agreement in some quarters that it is time to see reform here, after decades of poor planning and policy. Here's a conservative website that is unapologetic about the need for reform. Plus, I've spoken to several conservative Republicans in our legislature, who want to see change here.
I continue to have hope. Please follow along and support my efforts by contributing here.