For decades, Lycoming County, along with the rest of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has faced many challenges around incarceration and public safety. Lycoming County’s high recidivism rate, prison overcrowding, and over-exhausted correctional budget was threatening public safety and costing taxpayers. To combat the overpopulated prison, Lycoming County was in discussion to build a new county prison with a $40 million price tag.
Instead of building the costly prison, the county implemented an electronic monitoring program, enabling the county’s court and agency to release individuals to community supervision. Electronic monitoring allows individuals to live their lives, support their families, and contribute to the community, all while meeting conditions of release. In turn, with the support of these innovative tools, fewer individuals are packing the prison system, which saves taxpayers dollars and helps enhance public safety.
Prison Diversion Cost Savings
Effective prison diversion strategies have the potential to generate significant correctional cost savings and enable counties to re-invest their resources towards other pressing initiatives. Using data provided by the Lycoming County Adult Probation Office, researchers analyzed the impact that the BI electronic monitoring program has on county funds. Since 2015, the Lycoming County Prison saved 73,496 days; at $70 per day, per inmate, that is more than $5.1 million in savings.