County probation departments across Minnesota also have been neglected in the past decade, said Blue Earth County Community Corrections Department Director Josh Milow. The increase in state funding for county probation services has risen less than 1 percent in the last 10 years, even as the state corrections department has seen its budget rise 40 percent.
Milow notes that Minnesota relies much more on probation than other states in meting out criminal penalties, something that saves the state substantial money on prisons. Wisconsin, for instance, has 23,000 serving prison terms compared to 9,000 in Minnesota, he said.
But when it comes to supporting county probation services, the state has not kept up.
“It’s easy to say, let the counties pick up the slack,” Milow said.