Essay Sample on Budgeting Issues

Published: 2023-04-05
Essay Sample on Budgeting Issues
Type of paper:  Article review
Categories:  Information technologies Government Budgeting Criminal justice
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 991 words
9 min read

A reliable and efficient criminal justice system is an crucial government resource as it effectively ensures the safety of the public as well as equal and fair treatment for all. The judicial council provides a platform for identification of issues and depending on their urgency, nature, and role in the government, the board can prioritize, allocate resources and make plans to address the problems (Schiavo-Campo, 2017). However, the sector has to deal with issues such as financial, operational, and structural challenges to successfully fulfill its mandate. This paper highlights the budget issues in criminal justice and the changes faced by leaders concerning differing operating budgets.

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The problems in the criminal justice system differ considerably among local governments in the country, with some issues being prevalent in all local governments. From a public safety perspective, such issues include an increase in cases of assaults, burglaries, robberies, domestic and gang violence, drug dealing and possession, driving under substance influence petty, and auto thefts (Zolnik, & Sutter, 2010). In a broader standpoint, the issue goes beyond an increase in specific crime to include far-fetched problems like overcrowding in jails and detention, cut-offs in agency operation funds, unequal minority contracts, pretrial and bail release policy irregularities.

A range of financial contests aggravates criminal justice system challenges. Government budget deficits and the subsequent cut-offs in government-financed agencies of criminal justice has increased the burden on local governments to provide the highly demanded services using their limited budgets (Zolnik, & Sutter, 2010). Also, the cuts in budgets have translated to reductions in successful trial and delayed justice as a result of the reduced budget for agencies offering services required by the criminal justice system. Another critical problem for the criminal justice council is the establishment of a knowledge base about funding agents or partners who can support entities whose activities encompass processes of criminal justice. This would also involve the identification of explicit functions and events that each of the funding agents supports for better coordination.

To achieve their mission and mandates, the criminal justice system leaders must be financially empowered through adequate funding. The funds are allocated through budgeting, and if the system fails at it, then it falls short of accomplishing its mission and future goals. An operating budget in criminal law refers to a prediction of estimate revenues allocation and expected expenses for one or more fiscal years (Zolnik, & Sutter, 2010). The budget shows all the activities that the judicial system intends to complete in the year (Schiavo-Campo, 2017). It is classically prepared by the council before the commencement of a financial year and submitted for approval to the government's financial agents. An operating budget often becomes inaccurate as time passes, allowing the criminal justice council to modify its activities throughout to align itself with the actual budget. Empirical results have reported inaccuracy, time consumption, and responsibility of outcomes as the major challenges faced by criminal justice leaders while working with different operating budgets(Schiavo-Campo, 2017).

One of the budget issues is inaccuracy. The operating budget is usually an assumption that does not significantly differ from the prevailing conditions under which it was made. In the event that legal environment changes esignificantly, the criminal justice system's revenue allocation and expenses also change drastically, resulting in a rapid departure from expected performance delineated by the forecast budget. The situation is particularly problematic in the presence of an abrupt fiscal downturn as the budget approves expenses that are no longer sustainable, given the decrease in levels of revenue. Such a condition calls for quick action by the criminal justice council to disapprove of spending on the original budget and avoid shattering their mandate of ensuring public safety and fair treatment service delivery for all.

The time needed to plan and approve an operating budget for criminal justice systems is also a challenge. The budget planning process is time-consuming, ntespecially because of the several iterations required. If fact, most budget, and plans fail to be executed as they are no longer suitable for the prevailing condition (Zolnik, & Sutter, 2010). More often than not, they become obsolete before their authorization despite consuming too much time that would have otherwise been spent to fulfill the mandates of the criminal justice system. It is essential that the system leaders source information technology support in planning and implementing operating budgets to increase accuracy and reduce the time spent in the process. This would also make reporting easier, accurate, and faster.

Another challenge for criminal justice leaders is the blame for outcomes. The leaders often take accountability for budget failures and blame for any expenses that did not support or yield benefits for the justice system. As a result, the leaders tend to be risk-averse even when viable ventures for the justice system are at their disposal due to fear of blame for spending on failed support ventures (Schiavo-Campo, 2017). Competition for funding among various activities and services in the justice system also presents a problem to the leaders. The leaders are left to make decisions on what actions to prioritize, and they must be responsible for the criteria they use.

To deal with the issues of the budget in criminal justice, I would introduce contemporary software solutions for public budgeting, such as information technology software. The solutions would enhance the forecasting, planning, and implementation of budgets. I would also make sure that budgets are frequently and timely updated to reflect the financial needs of the criminal justice system.


Zolnik, E. J., & Sutter, R. (2010). Workforce Management Innovations in Transportation Agencies: Overcoming Obstacles to Public Sector Innovation. Innovation Journal, 15(1). Retrieved from

Den Schiavo-Campo, S. (2017). Government budgeting and expenditure management: principles and international practice. Routledge.

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