Prince George's County

Prince George's County executive vetoes funding for program for young adult prisoners

Alsobrooks says it was strictly a budget decision

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The Prince George’s County executive vetoed funding for a crime reduction program for young adult prisoners in a move that surprised the bill’s sponsor but that the county executive says was strictly a budget decision.

The Prince George’s County Council passed a $250,000 budget amendment that would have expanded a program to help young adults getting out of prison return to a normal life and stay out of trouble.

“Unfortunately, what we have seen is that when people leave the prison system, they come out and they commit more crimes, and programs like this across the country reduced recidivism by over 40%,” said Councilman Ed Burroughs, who sponsored the amendment.

Burroughs learned Friday that County Executive Angela Alsobrooks vetoed the amendment, citing budgetary constraints and other factors.

Burroughs said it felt personal. It’s a small part of a $5 billion budget.

“I was very shocked and very disappointed, because this program will ultimately save lives,” he said. “This program will make Prince George’s County safer.”

The money would have expanded an emerging adults program offered through the state’s attorney’s office that helps offenders ages 18 to 26. It provides services while offenders are in jail, anger management, mental health and job counseling.

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“So that when they leave the jail, they’ll have stable employment, they’ll have housing,” Burroughs said. “This program will provide a case worker. All of these things, we know, has a huge impact on reducing recidivism.”

Alsobrooks explained the veto – her first – in a letter to Council. She wrote she was dealing with a potential $60 million budget shortfall and had to optimize spending while maintaining critical services, including crime reduction, while also not raising taxes.

“Working collaboratively with the Council, I believe that we ultimately provided a budget that ensures we are still making people-centered investments that meet the immediate needs of residents while positioning the county for long-term success,” she wrote. “This amendment does not do that.”

State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said she’s disappointed about the veto as well and is looking for other ways to expand the program.

“Those individuals that have gotten through the program have really been thriving, have not gotten back into trouble and really serve as an example of what is possible,” she said.

Burroughs said he’s considering his options and possibly introducing new legislation. He said there are not enough votes to override the veto.

Alsobrooks said the state’s attorney’s office received an almost 14% increase in next year’s budget.

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