LAO Reports

The 2012-13 Budget: State Should Consider Less Costly Alternatives to CDCR Blueprint

May 16, 2012

 


In April 2012, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released a report (referred to as the “blueprint”) on the administration’s plan to reorganize various aspects of CDCR operations, facilities, and budgets in response to the effects of the 2011 realignment of adult offenders, as well as to meet various federal court requirements (such as reducing the inmate population to meet specified population cap targets). In this brief we (1) summarize and assess the major aspects of the blueprint and (2) present alternative approaches that are available to the Legislature. In our view, much of the administration’s blueprint merits legislative consideration. However, the General Fund costs of the planned approach—in particular, an estimated $78 million in annual debt service—is a significant tradeoff. We find that the state could meet its facility requirements (including those for medical and mental health treatment) and specified population cap targets at much lower ongoing General Fund costs than proposed by the administration, potentially saving the state as much as a billion dollars over the next seven years.