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PA Auditor General: Funding for State Corrections Needs to be Reevaluated

Halfway houses and boot camps receive a portion of their funding from the state, but an audit of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows that funding levels have nothing to do with effectiveness.

The overall recidivism rate in Pennsylvania is about 43 percent, but 48 percent of people who graduated from Quehanna Boot Camp in Karthaus PA between January 2010 and June 2011 returned to jail by October 2013. The boot camp costs about $43,000 per inmate per year.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, says that appropriations for these programs need to be reevaluated.

“It’s the hard work of analyzing all of the programs, and then you find out how many from those individualized programs end up having incarceration, and then you can start to have some policy judgements based off on that,” said DePasquale.

The audit also looked at the State Correctional Institution-Pittsburgh with an annual budget of about $53.7 million, which mostly consists of halfway houses that assist inmates in finding jobs and continuing education.

The program is not following up with past residents to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Overall DePasquale believes these programs are not putting enough resources into the mental health of their residents.

“I believe what the Department of Corrections is working on, and will hopefully be announce[ing] soon … a process to examine every program, and to find out what works and what doesn’t using real data, and not just gut instinct,” said DePasquale.

He would also like to see funding based on the data.