LAO Analysis of the 1997-98 Budget Bill
Criminal Justice Overview

  1. Overview
    1. Spending by Major Program
    2. Major Budget Changes

Major Issues

Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Growth in Prison Population Has Slowed

The Legislature Needs to Overhaul the Internal Affairs Investigation Process in the CDC

Youth Authority Population Expected to Remain Stable

Reforms Needed in California's Juvenile Justice System

Trial Court Funding Consolidation Proposal Makes Sense, But Needs Cost Control Measures

Local Agencies Should Pay for Crime Laboratory Services


Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Total expenditures for judiciary and criminal justice programs are proposed to increase significantly in the budget year. The principal reason for the increase is that reimbursements from the federal government to incarcerate undocumented felons are projected to decline in the budget year, necessitating an increase in state funds. In addition, the budget proposes to consolidate the costs of operation of the trial courts at the state level, but proposes relatively few significant new programs or augmentations for the budget year.

The budget proposes total expenditures of $5.6 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs in 1997-98. This is an increase of $517 million, or 10 percent, over estimated current-year spending. This increase is due to a number of factors, including declining federal fund support (and thus increased state costs) to pay the costs of incarcerating undocumented felons in state prison, the projected increase in the state's prison and parole populations, and full-year costs in 1997-98 of programs begun during the current year.

The budget also proposes to consolidate funding for operation of the trial courts at the state level. As part of this proposal, counties would transmit $890 million to the state that would, in turn, be appropriated to the courts in the budget bill (these funds are not counted in the expenditure figures).

The budget proposes General Fund expenditures of $4.9 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs, an increase of $135 million, or 2.8 percent, above estimated General Fund expenditures in the current year. This relatively small increase is misleading because it masks an important funding shift which, when taken into account, results in General Fund expenditures increasing by $425 million, or 8.9 percent. Specifically, as part of the trial court funding consolidation proposal, the 1997-98 Governor's Budget proposes to shift about $291 million in General Fund revenues to the Trial Court Trust Fund and, in turn, expend this amount from this fund rather than the General Fund.

Figure 1 shows expenditures from all state funds for judiciary and criminal justice programs since 1990-91. Figures for 1994-95 through 1997-98 have been reduced to reflect federal funds the state received or is expected to receive to offset costs of handling undocumented felons. As Figure 1 shows, total expenditures for judiciary and criminal justice programs have increased by $1.9 billion since 1990-91, representing an average annual increase of 6 percent.

Spending by Major Program

Figure 2 shows expenditures for the major judiciary and criminal justice programs in 1995-96, 1996-97, and as proposed for 1997-98. As the figure shows, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) accounts for the largest share of total spending in the criminal justice area.

Figure 2
Judiciary and Criminal Justice Budget Summary

1995-96 Through 1997-98

(Dollars in Millions)







Change From


Amount Percent
Department of Corrections
General Fund $3,211.6 $3,453.7 $3,705.2 $251.5 7.3%
Special funds 36.5 45.4 47.0 1.6 3.5
Bond funds 13.1 9.0

-9.0 -100.0
Reimbursements 54.8 115.0 79.0 -36.0 -31.3
Totals $3,316.0 $3,623.1 $3,831.1 $208.1 5.7%
Department of the

Youth Authority

General Fund $393.5 $393.7 $360.3 -$33.4 -8.5%
Special funds 2.5 2.2 2.9 0.7 33.2
Bond funds 12.8 9.7 5.2 -4.6 -47.1
Reimbursements 20.2 30.1 63.8 33.7 112.2
Totals $428.9 $435.6 $432.1 -$3.5 -0.8%
Federal Offset for

Undocumented Felons

Federal funds $30.5 $441.0 $298.7 -$142.3 -32.3%
Trial Court Fundinga
General Fund $479.4 $488.7 $236.9 -$251.8 -51.5%
Special funds 154.1 155.5 534.2 378.7 243.6
Totals $633.5 $644.2 $771.1 $126.9 19.7%
General Fund $163.9 $179.1 $196.6 $17.5 9.8%
Special funds and


1.0 8.6 40.2 31.6 368.8
Totals $164.9 $187.7 $236.7 $49.1 26.1%
Department of Justice
General Fund $195.6 $224.0 $220.3 -$3.7 -1.6%
Special funds 76.7 78.1 78.4 0.3 0.4
Reimbursements 79.5 89.4 88.1 -1.2 -1.4
Totals $351.8 $391.5 $386.8 -$4.6 -1.2%
a Trial Court Funding figures for 1997-98 do not include $890 million in proposed contributions by counties that would be appropriated to trial courts in the budget bill.

Major Budget Changes

Figure 3 presents the major budget changes resulting in a net increase of $517 million in total state spending for judiciary and criminal justice programs. Generally, the major changes can be categorized as follows:

Figure 3
Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Proposed Major Changes for 1997-98

All State Funds

Department of Corrections Requested: $3.8 Billion
Increase: $208 Million (+5.7%)
+$138 million for full-year cost adjustments
+$56 million for inmate and population increases
+$19 million for increased lease payment bond costs

-$72 million for various limited-term and one-time expenditures
Department of the Youth Authority Requested: $432 Million
Decrease: $3.5 Million (-0.8%)
+$1.4 million to provide full relief staffing for certain institution personnel on their regular days off

-$0.7 million for ward housing adjustments thereby allowing a reduction in staff
Trial Court Funding Requested: $1.7 Billion
Increase: $1 Billion (+149%)
+$978 million for increased state support of trial courts ($890 million reimbursed by counties and $88 million from increased court revenues)
+$14 million to provide additional reimbursement to trial court jurors
+$8 million for trial court security projects
+$4 million for creation of 40 new judgeships in the last quarter of 1997-98

The Budget Proposes to Provide Full Funding for Caseload and Certain Other Cost Increases. This includes funding for projected inmate population increases of 5.9 percent in the CDC and ward population increases of about 1.3 percent in the Youth Authority. The budget contains no proposals that would result in any significant reduction in the inmate and ward populations.

In addition, the budget proposes to provide full funding for caseload increases in several other judicial and criminal justice programs. These include the Judicial's court-appointed defense counsel and the Department of Justice's program that handles appeals in criminal cases.

The budget provides an augmentation for the Judicial branch and the CDC for the costs of merit salary adjustments that will be granted in 1997-98, while requiring most other state departments to absorb these costs.

The Budget Proposes to Consolidate and Restructure the Trial Court Funding Program. The budget proposes to consolidate funding for support of trial courts at the state level. The proposal is similar to a proposal contained in the 1996-97 Governor's Budget which failed passage in the Legislature.

Specifically, the Governor's budget proposes the following:

In the budget year, the net effect of these changes is to increase the state's General Fund costs by about $10.7 million. In future years, however, the state's costs would increase since the state would be completely responsible for funding growth in trial court costs.

The budget also proposes about $27.3 million in General Fund augmentations for distribution to the trial courts. The most significant of the proposals include $14 million to reimburse jurors for the costs of their meals, parking, dependent care, and mileage; $8 million to enhance trial court security; and $4 million to create an additional 40 trial court judgeships in the last quarter of 1997-98.

The Budget Assumes that the State Will Receive Less Federal Fund Reimbursements for Incarceration and Parole of Undocumented Immigrants. As indicated above, the budget assumes that the state will receive $299 million in federal funds in 1997-98 to offset the state's costs to incarcerate and supervise undocumented immigrants in the CDC and the Youth Authority. This is a decrease of $142 million below the Governor's budget's estimate of the amount the state will receive in the current year ($441 million). The principal reason for the decrease is that the anticipated current-year reimbursements are artificially high because California will receive the bulk of two federal fiscal year (FFY) appropriations (1996 and 1997) in a single state fiscal year.

Of the current-year amount, $252 million has already been awarded to California from existing federal appropriations for FFY 96. The administration's estimates of the remaining funds to be received in the current year ($189 million) is based on its projections of California's share of monies appropriated nationwide in the FFY 97 appropriations, which have not been distributed to states.

For the budget year, the Governor's budget assumes that it will receive the remaining portion of its estimated share of the FFY 97 appropriation ($63 million), plus an amount ($236 million) that it anticipates Congress and the President will appropriate for FFY 98.

The Budget Proposes Few New Significant Program Initiatives. The budget proposes relatively few significant new judiciary and criminal justice program initiatives for 1997-98. The most significant proposals include: (1) $14.9 million in federal funds for the Board of Corrections to distribute to local governments to build or expand local adult and juvenile detention facilities; (2) $5 million from the General Fund for the CDC to provide substance abuse treatment to about 1,000 inmates at the new California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran; (3) $3.4 million from the General Fund for development of case management and statistical information systems for the Judicial Branch; (4) $1.9 million from the General Fund (and an additional $8 million in the capital outlay budget) for implementation of a "disability placement plan" to ensure that all inmates and parolees with disabilities have equal access to CDC programs, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act; (5) $1.4 million from the General Fund (and an identical amount from redirections) for the Youth Authority to provide full relief staffing for senior counselor and group supervisors on their days off.

In addition, the budget proposes to continue a number of new programs and expenditures begun in the current year. These include $3 million for the Youth Authority's "Young Men as Fathers" program begun as part of the Governor's overall proposal relating to mentoring, and $10.7 million in new federal funds under the federal Violence Against Women Act to be allocated by the Office of Criminal Justice Planning to local law enforcement agencies and providers of services to victims of crime.

It should be noted that one major program established by the Legislature in the 1996-97 Budget Act--the Juvenile Crime Enforcement and Accountability Challenge Grant Program, which will provide $50 million in grants to counties for programs to combat juvenile crime--was not continued in the Governor's budget for 1997-98.

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