The budget released late Monday afternoon and passed by the House Finance Committee on Tuesday includes increases in funding to both the Rhode Island State Police and Department of Corrections. This, even as calls rise across the country and in the state to defund the police.
These increases come even as Rhode Islanders are being told that money is impossibly tight due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downtown. “Everything is on the table” has become a common refrain from state leaders who hint at an austerity budget if no further Federal stimulus funds become available.
More broadly, calls to Defund the Police are sweeping the country as the Movement for Black Lives takes action in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others.
These increases to the Department of Corrections and the State Police come even after other essential services are being cut, such as DCYF.
Woah. They failed to staff DCYF adequately. pic.twitter.com/Ulp7QMgMqb— Sam Bell (@SamuelWBell) June 17, 2020
Looking first at the State Police budget, we can see that an additional $3m has been allocated, an increase of about 4%. (The first number is the amount originally enacted, the second is the amount changed, and the third is the final amount allocated.)
Moving on to the Department of Corrections, there are two sections to look at.
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As can be seen, overall spending at the Department of Corrections has increased, but funding for the Parole Board has gone down. A total of $15m has been put towards rennovations.
There is also an additional $2.2m line item for Correctional Facility Renovations later in the document: