The governor wants to cut millions from prison drug treatment programs and job placement services, which a prison watchdog group says is asking for trouble. The proposed $12 million cut is part of the governor’s budget plan that would close eight facilities, including super-max prisons and halfway houses. John Maki, executive director of prison watchdog group John Howard Association says policy makers aren’t focusing on the big picture.
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“As the General Assembly and the Governor work out the details on this budget, they need to be thinking about the long term,” he says. “Ultimately again, we can make short term decisions that might save us money right now, but we’ll pay for at a much greater cost down the road.” Maki says the loss of rehabilitation programs will mean petty drug offenders will stay in prison longer than necessary. He argues it costs far more to incarcerate a person than rehabilitate him. He says recidivism is greatly reduced when drug users receive help behind prison walls.