March 1, 2017 - In this web post, we provide an overview of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the level of funding proposed for the department in the Governor's 2017-18 budget. We also assess and make recommendations on various CDCR budget proposals, including a $12.6 million proposed augmentation related to changes in the adult inmate and parolee populations. In addition, we assess and provide recommendations on three proposals related to inmate mental health care: a $250 million shift of inpatient psychiatric programs from the Department of State Hospitals to CDCR, an $11.4 million proposal to convert 74 existing outpatient mental health beds into inpatient psychiatric program beds, and a $112 million proposal to construct 100 additional Mental Health Crisis Beds. Finally, we assess and provide recommendations on five other CDCR proposals: an $11.7 million proposal to install video surveillance cameras, the delayed activation of an infill facility, a proposal to reduce the department’s budget by $8.3 million to reflect housing unit conversions and the reallocation of health care access staff, a $299,000 proposal to modify a fence at a minimum support facility, and proposed budget trailer legislation related to California Prison Industry Authority employee retiree health benefits.
February 14, 2018 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize our major findings and recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.
February 19, 2019 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.
February 18, 2020 - The Governor’s 2020‑21 budget includes a total of $19.7 billion from all fund sources for the operation of judicial and criminal justice programs. This is a net increase of $341 million (2 percent) over the revised 2019‑20 level of spending. General Fund spending is proposed to be $16.2 billion in 2020‑21, which represents an increase of $213 million (1 percent) above the revised 2019‑20 level. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize some of our major recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.
February 4, 2020 - In this brief, we find that the major reasons why CDCR’s costs did not decline in line with the substantial decrease in the populations are: (1) costly operational changes to comply with various federal court orders, (2) increased employee compensation costs, and (3) the payment of costs that were deferred during the state’s fiscal crisis. However, we note that had the inmate population not declined over this period, CDCR spending would have increased by billions of dollars more than it actually did.
February 28, 2020 - Given the magnitude of the state’s prison infrastructure needs, combined with the possibility of closing a prison in the near future, it will be important for the state to think strategically about managing its prison infrastructure—both in the near term and long term. In this report, we (1) provide an overview of the state’s prison infrastructure, (2) discuss the major drivers of prison infrastructure needs and spending, and (3) provide a road map to guide the Legislature in the development of a plan to strategically manage the state’s prison infrastructure.
February 8, 2022 - This publication provides our assessment and recommendations on the Governor’s 2022-23 budget proposals related to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation operations.
November 19, 2020 - In this analysis, we (1) provide an overview of the state correctional population; (2) discuss our projections of the population through 2024-25, and (3) comment on how changes in the sizes of these populations could impact state correctional costs in both the near and long term. Specifically, we estimate that the number of inmates, parolees, and wards in the state’s correctional system will significantly decline due to two main factors—operational changes that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and various policy changes recently enacted that will further reduce the size of the state correctional population in the long term. We also estimate that these population declines will substantially slow the expected growth in CDCR’s overall projected costs through 2024-25—partially through the closure of five prisons. This publication is part of our The 2021-22 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook series.
February 22, 2016 - In this report, we provide an analysis of the Governor's budget proposals for state criminal justice departments and programs, including for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the judicial branch, the Department of Justice, and various local public safety programs. We review the most significant proposals in these areas and offer corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration.
March 16, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on Corrections, Public Safety, and the Judiciary
February 23, 2012 - In 2011, the state enacted several bills to realign to county governments the responsibility for certain felon offenders who previously had been eligible for state prison and parole. These changes will significantly reduce the inmate and parole populations managed by CDCR. This report identifies the impacts of the realignment of adult offenders on CDCR's operations and facility needs, discusses whether realignment will enable the state to meet the prison population limit required by the federal court, as well as whether the change in the makeup of CDCR's inmate population following realignment will affect its housing, mental health, and medical facility needs. The report provides recommendations on how to better match CDCR facilities and programs with the remaining inmate population following the realignment.
April 14, 2021 - This report provides background on the ways parolees access substance use disorder treatment (SUDT) through providers who are typically either funded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or through Medi-Cal (the state’s Medicaid program). It assesses the trade-offs between these two approaches and recommends steps to improve the quality of service and create savings by increasing the utilization of Medi-Cal for parolee SUDT.
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.
April 10, 2019 - This report provides an overview of California’s juvenile justice system including DJJ and highlights several key questions raised by the Governor’s proposal for the Legislature to consider as the administration provides more detailed information on the proposal in the coming months.
February 19, 2014 - In the report we provide an analysis of the Governor's budget proposals for state criminal justice programs, including the judicial branch, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and various proposals related to local public safety. The report reviews the most significant proposals in these departments and offers corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration. For example, we recommend that the Legislature take several actions to improve the administration’s approach to trial court funding, including the current trial court reserves policy. In addition, we review the administration’s proposals related to correctional relief staffing and overtime and make a series of recommendations to reduce spending on staffing and overtime and make CDCR's staffing process more cost-efficient.