Correction: The earlier fiscal notes were unclear with their estimates for prisoner population, confusing total additional inmates with additional inmates above capacity in some places. The original story contained those errors and under-reported the population by 350 inmates in all references.
The looming “war on criminals” won’t be cheap.
According to the latest cost estimates of the Senate’s version of House Bill 49, the legislation would cost the state more than $101 million over its first two years. The legislation, which is largely in line with Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy’s proposal for crime, would put more people behind bars for longer.
The legislation is anticipated to cost $44.9 million in the upcoming fiscal year and $56.4 million the following year. Costs would grow slightly and level out in the $58.3 million range for following years.
Its passage is not guaranteed after the House leadership claims they were duped by the administration, claiming the governor and his team didn’t act in good faith on the forming their version of the bill.
House Bill 49 is expected to pass today, setting up a showdown with the House. The final day of the regular session is Wednesday.
The cost of housing the additional offenders is the prime driver of the increased cost of the legislation, with increased costs for the Department of Corrections accounting for $39.5 million of next year’s increases and $51.3 million in the following year.
According to the Department of Corrections’ fiscal notes, the anticipated prison population would outstrip the system’s current capacity of 4,664 inmates. The average population currently sits at 4,314 inmates leaving some additional capacity, which would not be enough for the anticipated increases.
The legislation anticipates 771 new inmates in the first year, 1,086 in the second year and 1,119 the third year. It will require the state reopen the Palmer Correctional Center, according to the fiscal notes.
“If the department’s projections are correct, it will need to reopen the currently shuttered Palmer Correctional Center in order to have the capacity to accommodate the projected increase in inmates,” explained the note. “The general capacity of the Palmer Correctional Center is 503 inmates.”
The facility, which was closed in 2016, would need renovations to reopen. To that end, the total anticipated cost in the upcoming fiscal year is $20.2 million. The cost for operating the facility would level out around $14.1 million every year after that.
No cost to Troopers
While the bill anticipates increased costs for prosecutors, public defenders and the court system, the Department of Public Safety doesn’t anticipate much additional cost. It submitted zero fiscal notes for the Alaska State Troopers and the Village Public Safety Officer Program.
The only additional costs for the Department Public Safety is for additional lab work necessary to meet increased requirements for timely testing of sex assault kits. The fiscal note calls for $342,500 in the first year and $278,800 in every subsequent year. The money would mostly go to two additional lab techs.
By the numbers
We tallied the fiscal notes so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for the explanation of any particular allocation, we’ve also linked the relevant fiscal notes.
All numbers are in thousands, so if you see a comma that means the cost will be in the millions.
|Department||Agency||Allocation||FY 20||FY 21||FY 22||FY 23|
|Administration||Legal and Advocacy Services||Office of Public Advocacy||$694.70||$694.70||$694.70||$694.70|
|Administration||Legal and Advocacy Services||Public Defender Agency||$1,300.90||$1,300.90||$1,300.90||$1,300.90|
|Corrections||Administration and Support||Information Technology||$175.00||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Corrections||Population management||Institutuion Director’s Office||$11,078.10||$24,717.70||$26,286.60||$26,344.80|
|Corrections||Population management||Palmer Correctional Center||$20,203.40||$14,137.40||$14,137.40||$14,137.40|
|Corrections||Population management||Statewide Probation and Parole||$127.80||$127.80||$0.00||$0.00|
|Corrections||Population management||Parole Board||$77.30||$77.30||$77.30||$77.30|
|Corrections||Health and Rehab Services||Physical health care||$7,209.10||$11,451.90||$11,890.10||$11,906.40|
|Corrections||24-hour institutional utlities||24-hour institutional utlities||$876.80||$876.80||$876.80||$876.80|
|HSS||Children’s Services||Family Preservation||$73.00||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|HSS||Juvenile Justice||Probation Services||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Law||Criminal Division||Criminal Justice Litigation||$1,602.70||$1,602.70||$1,602.70||$1,602.70|
|Public Safety||Alaska State Troopers||Prisoner Transportation||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Public Safety||Village Public Safety||VPSO Program||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Public Safety||Statewide Support||Criminal Justice IT system||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Public Safety||Statewide Support||Labratory Services||$342.50||$278.80||$278.80||$278.80|
|Transportation||Administration and Support||Statewide Planning||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Judiciary||Alsaka Court Sytem||Trial Courts||$1,136.50||$1,136.50||$1,136.50||$1,136.50|
By Department (Again, all numbers are in thousands)
|Department||FY 20||FY 21||FY 22||FY 23|