Uncategorized Budget Brief: Public Safety & the Judiciary

Budget Brief: Public Safety & the Judiciary

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Hearing Date: November 29, 2010

Testifying Agencies:

Indiana Supreme Court, Division of Court Administration

Judicial Technology Automation Committee (JTAC)

Court of Appeals

Indiana State Police (ISP)

Integrated Public Safety Commission (IPSC)

Department of Corrections (IDOC)

Adjutant General (National Guard)

Presentation Highlights:


* NOTE: The “base rate” is the annual appropriation recommended by the State Budget Agency. This year, the base rate reflects cuts made under the governor’s 15% budget reduction target, not the amount last appropriated by the General Assembly.

Indiana Supreme Court – The salaries of judges and prosecutors, which are largely fixed by law, account for 62% of the Supreme Court’s total budget expenditures. The Supreme Court’s FY2011-2013 Biennium budget request represents a 3.8% or $5,051,349 increase from the base rate* recommended by the State Budget Agency.

Many of the programs and departments within in the judicial branch are financed by dedicated funds and/or court fees. One exception is the Public Defender Commission, which is responsible for reimbursing counties for the costs of public defenders. Approximately 75% of the Public Defender Commission budget is financed by the General Fund. According to Supreme Court Chief Justice Shepard, five new counties have requested to participate in the state’s public defender reimbursement program and these additions will cost the state approximately $6 million more dollars over the next two years. The other requested increase in the Supreme Court’s budget would be used to update the court’s electronic case management system technology.

Judicial Technology Automation Committee (JTAC)- JTAC was established in 1999 to develop technology systems that can enhance efficiency and effectiveness within the court system. JTAC’s biggest project is to equip all Indiana courts and clerks with the Odyssey case management systemconnecting each court’s system with each other’s and with law enforcement, state agencies and the public. Since the first pilot installation in 2007, 75 courts in 24 counties comprising 29% of the state’s caseload now use the Odyssey system.

JTAC’s efforts are funded solely through court filing fees and federal and state grants. JTAC did not request any general fund appropriations, but they urged legislators to consider raising court fees from $4 per case to $10 to help supplement implementation costs. If court fees remain at $4 per case, JTAC will be unable to install new technology in any additional courts next year.

Court of Appeals – The Court of Appeals requested funds slightly above the base rate* recommended by the State Budget Agency to account for increase rent, staff and services costs.

According to the Court of Appeals, even with constrained budgets during 2009-2010, the average age of cases pending in the Court of Appeals dropped to one month and the 252 cases pending at the end of 2009 represents the fewest cases that the court has had pending at the end of a year in 25 years.

State Police (ISP)- The ISP general fund budget request for FY2011 represents a 3.03% ($1,719,330) increase from the base rate* recommended by the State Budget Agency. However, the annual requests are less than the FY2008-2009 actual expenditures by the agency. The ISP also submitted a $5 M capital budget request for maintenance and repairs of buildings and for patrol vehicles.

In 2010 four ISP posts were consolidated: Seymour Post consolidated with Versailles Post; Terre Haute Post consolidated with Putnamville Post; Connersville Post consolidated with Pendleton Post; and Redkey Post consolidated into portions of the Ft. Wayne, Pendleton and Peru Posts.

According to ISP, the post closings are part of an overall effort to “be good stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to us by utilizing advancements in technology to provide the most efficient police services possible…” Also noted was the fact that the present post locations were based on geography and technology of the 1930’s. The possibility for future consolidations remains open.

Integrated Public Safety Commission (IPSC)- IPSC’s mission is to facilitate statewide public safety communications. IPSC provides an interoperable and reliable public safety communications system to all Hoosier first responders and public safety professionals for use during routine, emergency and task force situations.

According to the IPSC, Indiana has what may be the only true statewide interoperable communications system in the country – Project Hoosier SAFE-T. Each day, thousands of Hoosier first responders use SAFE-T as the primary communications system. Participation is voluntary and agencies pay no access or monthly user fees. See current map>>

IPSC is requesting the State Budget Agency’s base rate* recommendation for the 2011-2013 budget, an amount slightly less than appropriated in the last state budget.

Department of Corrections (DOC)- Further discussion on reforming sentencing policies can be expected after the DOC’s budget request presentation on November 29. DOC Commissioner Buss reported the state’s prison population has increased by 43% since 2000 while state funding has only increased by 23% during that same time period.

From 2008 to 2009, despite the first decline in nearly 40 years in state prison populations nationwide, Indiana’s prison population increased by 5.3% – more than any other state. View Map>> (From the Pew Center on the States report “Prison Count 2010“)

Read more from an earlier Briefing Room post on an ongoing review of Indiana’s alternative sentencing programs and community corrections>>

In 2008 the DOC requested additional funds to accommodate the growing number of offenders, especially high-risk offenders needing to be housed in celled housing units (as opposed to lower-security, dormitory-style settings). However, due to the declining national economy and restrictions on additional spending, the IDOC was not funded for new housing construction or operations. To meet this challenge, IDOC launched a campaign of new initiatives (which can be read about in further detail in the DOC’s Transmittal letter).

The DOC urged that the legislature will either need to implement policy changes or grant additional funding if it wants the DOC to be able to continue to meet the demands of Indiana’s growing prison population. The DOC’s budget request for state funds represents a 1.31% ($8,666,567) increase in FY2011-2012 from the base rate* recommended by the State Budget Agency. The FY2012-2013 request is an additional 1.17% increase from FY2011-2012.

Adjutant General – The Indiana National Guard is the fourth largest Army National Guard and the 13th largest Air National Guard in the U.S. The Indiana National Guard has mobilized and deployed 17,237 soldiers and airmen since 9/11 and currently has over 1,000 soldiers mobilized and supporting overseas contingency operations.

The National Guard received over $468.6 M in federal funds in FY2009, or approximately $32,000 in federal funds per soldier. Major General R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General, requested state general fund appropriations equal to the State Budget Agency’s recommended base rate* at $12,745,573 in general funds for both FY 2011-2012 and FY 2012-2013.