Major Issues

Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Growth in Prison Population Continues

The Department of Corrections projects that the prison population will increase by about 5.8 percent annually, reaching about 213,000 inmates by June 2003. The state will run out of room to house inmates by early 2000 unless prison space is made available or measures are taken to reduce growth.

The administration proposes to accommodate the growth by constructing new prisons, overcrowding prisons, and contracting for 15,000 beds in private prisons. Although there is merit to adding capacity to the prison system, we recommend that it be balanced with changes to reduce the inmate population growth rate (see pages D-68 to D-76).

Legislature Should Reform Adult Parole System

A major contributor to the growth in the prison population is the large number of parolees being returned to prison for a parole violation. Although once on the decline, the number of parole violators is on the rise again.

We recommend an approach to reforming the parole system that should improve public safety, reduce prison overcrowding, and save the state money by breaking the cycle of parole failure and reincarceration (see pages D-11 to D-33).

The Federal Government Is Playing an Increasing Role in California Law Enforcement

Recently the federal government has become more involved in local law enforcement--by funding law enforcement programs (sometimes with strings attached) and increasing the resources and roles of federal law enforcement agencies.

Local law enforcement agencies in California have received about $500 million in federal funds in recent years; the largest amount was used to hire more than 3,000 new police officers.

In view of the increased federal role, the Legislature needs to evaluate proposed state-funded law enforcement increases in the context of expanded federal funds and consider linkages with federal programs in order to maximize both federal and state funding (see pages D-34 to D-42).

New Fees Have Changed How Counties Use Youth Authority

Effective in 1997, counties were charged higher fees for commitments of juvenile offenders to the Youth Authority. The fees were designed to provide incentives to counties to treat less serious offenders in local programs and to invest in prevention programs in order to reduce juvenile delinquency.

Initial data for the first year show the fees are having the intended impacts. There has been a significant decrease in new Youth Authority commitments in those categories of wards for which counties must pay higher fees.

Counties are developing local alternatives to Youth Authority, in part because of the fees. The state has provided county probation departments with $374 million (for 1997-98 and 1998-99) in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds, which will assist them in developing these alternatives and offset the costs of the fees (see pages D-99 to D-101).

Governance and Accountability--Key Issues for Trial Court Funding

The budget implements the new restructuring of Trial Court Funding, which will substantially increase costs to the state to support the trial courts while saving the counties money.

Because the state will be responsible for all future costs of the trial courts, the Legislature will need to ensure that the state has adequate control over court operations and expenditures and that courts are held accountable for their operational and financial decisions (see pages D-111 to D-115).

Findings and Recommendations D-159Overview

Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Total expenditures for judiciary and criminal justice programs are proposed to increase significantly in the budget year. The principal reasons for the increase are (1) recent legislation that requires the state to pay for a much larger share of the costs of the trial courts; (2) continuing increases in the state's prison and parole populations; and (3) declining reimbursements from the federal government to incarcerate undocumented felons, necessitating an increase in state funds. Other than implementation of the new trial court funding legislation, the budget proposes relatively few significant new programs or augmentations in the budget year.

The budget proposes total expenditures of $6.3 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs in 1998-99. This is an increase of $741 million, or 13 percent, over estimated current-year spending. This increase is due to a number of factors, including implementation of recent legislation requiring the state to take over a larger share of financial responsibility for trial courts from the counties, the projected increase in the state's prison inmate and parole populations, and declining federal fund support (and thus increased state costs) to pay the costs of incarcerating undocumented felons in state prison.

As part of the new trial court funding mechanism, counties will transmit $605 million to the state that will, 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 $5.6 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs, an increase of $600 million, or 12 percent, above estimated General Fund expenditures in the current year. This increase is somewhat misleading because it masks a funding shift which, when taken into account, results in General Fund expenditures increasing by about $691 million, or 14 percent. Specifically, as part of the trial court funding legislation, about $91 million in revenues will be shifted from the General Fund to the Trial Court Trust Fund in 1998-99 and, in turn, expended from this fund rather than the General Fund.

Figure 1 shows expenditures from all state funds for judiciary and criminal justice programs since 1991-92. Expenditures for 1994-95 through 1998-99 have been reduced to reflect federal funds the state received or is expected to receive to offset the costs of incarceration and parole of undocumented felons. As Figure 1 shows, total expenditures for judiciary and criminal justice programs have increased by $2 billion since 1991-92, representing an average annual increase of 5.7 percent.

Spending by Major Program

Figure 2 shows expenditures for the major judiciary and criminal justice programs in 1996-97, 1997-98, and as proposed for 1998-99. 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
1996-97 Through 1998-99

(Dollars in Millions)

Change From


Actual 1996-97 Estimated 1997-98 Proposed 1998-99
Amount Percent
Department of Corrections
General Fund $3,427.5 $3,640.3 $3,902.0 $261.7 7.2%
Special funds 38.0 45.1 45.5 0.4 0.9
Bond funds 6.3





and federal funds

97.3 137.2 71.3 -65.9 -48.0
Totals $3,569.0 $3,822.6 $4,018.8$196.35.1%
Department of the

Youth Authority

General Fund $391.6 $328.4 $312.1 -$16.2 -4.9%
Special funds 0.7 1.2 1.2 0.0 0.2
Bond funds 14.6 15.0 1.4 -13.5 -90.4

and federal funds

31.0 51.1 64.9 13.8 27.1
Totals $437.8 $395.7 $379.7 -$15.9 -4.0%
Offset for undocumented

felons (federal funds)

$435.9 $330.1 $286.5 -$43.6-13.2%
Trial Court Funding
General Fund $483.4 $360.1 $656.0 $295.9 82.2%
Special funds 142.1 356.2 492.2 136.0 38.2
County contribution

890.0 605.5 -284.5 -32.0
Totals $625.5 $1,606.3 $1,753.7 $147.4 9.2%
General Fund $177.3 $189.2 $216.7 $27.4 14.5%
Other funds and


5.6 41.4 46.0 4.6 11.2
Totals $182.9 $230.6 $262.7 $32.013.9%
Department of Justice
General Fund $212.6 $254.5 $245.7 -$8.8 -3.4%
Special funds 58.2 80.2 79.1 -1.2 -1.4
Federal funds 18.0 32.4 32.5


Reimbursements 90.1 103.7 105.1 1.3 1.3 Totals$379.0$470.9$462.3-$8.6-1.8%

Major Budget Changes

Figure 3 presents the major budget changes resulting in a net increase of $741 million in total state spending for judiciary and criminal justice programs. Generally, the major changes can be categorized as follows:

The Budget Proposes to Provide Full Funding for Caseload and Certain Other Cost Increases.This includes funding for projected inmate population increases of 6 percent in the CDC. The budget contains no proposals that would result in any significant reduction in the growth in the inmate population. The budget requests $9.1 million to contract for 5,000 beds of a total 15,000-bed expansion of private correctional facilities.

In addition, the budget proposes to provide full funding for caseload increases in other judicial and criminal justice programs, such as the Judicial's court-appointed defense counsel program and the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training local law enforcement training reimbursement program.

The budget provides an augmentation for the CDC for the costs of merit salary adjustments that will be granted in 1998-99, while requiring most other state departments to absorb these costs.

The Budget Proposes to Fully Implement the New Restructuring of the Trial Court Funding Program. The budget proposes to restructure funding for the trial courts pursuant to provisions of Chapter 850, Statutes of 1997 (AB 233, Escutia and Pringle). The budget includes $1.8 billion for support of the Trial Court Funding Program in 1998-99. These changes will result in increased General Fund costs of about $350 million in the budget year, including the following:

Figure 3
Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Proposed Major Changes for 1998-99

All State Funds

Department of Corrections Requested: $4 Billion
Increase: $196 Million (+5.1%)
+$116 million for inmate and parole population increases
+$74 million for full-year cost adjustments
+$24 million for merit salary adjustments

-$43 million for various limited-term and one-time expenditures
Trial Court Funding Requested: $1.8 Billion
Increase: $147 Million (+9.2%)
+$50 million to promote improvements and efficiencies in court operations
+$29.6 million for courthouse security projects
+$13.2 million for 40 new judgeships authorized in 1997
+$7.8 million for civil and criminal case workload increases
+$6.6 million for court interpreter workload increases
+$6 million for court-appointed counsel for juvenile dependency cases
Department of Justice Requested: $463 Million
Decrease: $8.3 Million (-1.8%)
+$6 million to support two major litigation efforts (tobacco and Stringfellow)
+$5 million for new gang violence prevention and witness protection programs
+$4.2 million to establish the Division of Gambling Control and Gambling Control Board

-$21.1 million for reductions in costs for local government mandate payments
-$10.5 million for various limited term and one-time expenditures
In addition, the budget includes the following for trial courts:

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 $287 million in federal funds in 1998-99 to offset the state's costs to incarcerate and supervise undocumented immigrants in the CDC and the Department of the Youth Authority. This is a decrease of $43.6 million below the Governor's budget estimate of the amount the state will receive in the current year ($330 million). The principal reason for the decrease is that, in the 1997-98 Budget Act, the Legislature chose to shift $54 million in federal funds for prison construction to offset incarceration costs of undocumented felons, as permitted on a one-time basis under federal law for federal fiscal year 1997. Up to $27 million in additional federal funds could be shifted to the General Fund for this purpose.

The Budget Proposes Relatively Few New Significant Program Initiatives. The budget proposes relatively few significant new judiciary and criminal justice program initiatives in 1998-99. Among the changes are: (1) an increase of $3.9 million in federal funds to the Department of Justice for a new effort to combat methamphetamine, (2) a General Fund increase of $12 million for the Board of Corrections to expand the Community Law Enforcement and Recovery (CLEAR) Demonstration Project to fight gang crime in Los Angeles, and (3) a federal funds increase of $12.4 million to the Board of Corrections for distribution to local governments to build or rehabilitate jails and juvenile detention facilities.

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