Major Issues

Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Prison Inmate Growth Slows

Although the state's prison inmate population is projected to grow over the next five years, the rate of growth is much slower than in recent years. The reasons include reductions in the number of parolees being returned to prison after failing while on parole and the number of parolees being sent back to prison for new violations of law.

Even with the lower projections, however, the prison system will run out of bed space by 2001. We recommend that the Legislature take a balanced approach to accommodating future inmate population growth, weighted evenly between adding new prison capacity and enacting policy changes to reduce the expected growth.

Our review indicates that the projected inmate population for the current and budget years is overbudgeted by a total of $67 million (see pages D-60 to D-69).

Legislature Should Adopt "Containment"

Strategy for Adult Sex Offenders

About half of the 7,300 adult sex offenders now on parole are considered to pose a high risk of committing new sex crimes and other violent acts. Very few of these offenders received any treatment services while in prison to curb their pattern of criminal activity and only a fraction receive intensive supervision on parole.

We recommend that the Legislature implement a more cost-effective strategy of "containment" of high-risk adult sex offenders. This strategy includes longer and more intensive supervision of high-risk sex offenders on parole, regular polygraph examinations of sex offenders, and pre- and post-release treatment to help control the behavior of these offenders (see pages D-11 to D-38).

New Youth Authority Fees Achieving Intended Objectives

Legislation to increase the fees paid by counties for committing less serious offenders to the Youth Authority appears to be having its desired effects. Counties are sending significantly fewer less serious offenders to the Youth Authority. Counties are also moving to increase their menu of local programming options for these offenders.

We recommend a number of steps to improve the current fee system, including giving counties more input into decisions regarding the length of stay of less serious offenders in the Youth Authority and adjusting the state's fees periodically to account for the effects of inflation.

We find that the Youth Authority still has an important role to play in the treatment of less serious offenders. We recommend that the Youth Authority report on the feasibility of developing programming targeted to chronic and intractable offenders who are in the less serious categories (see pages D-95 to D-109).

Proposed Budget Not Consistent

With Legislative Direction in Several Areas

The budget proposal does not fully implement several programs as intended by the Legislature. This includes: (1) a 1998 legislative agreement to balance expansion of prison capacity with new programs intended to reduce recidivism rates of offenders on parole (see pages D-69 to D-72); (2) the lack of any proposed expansion for juvenile crime programs (see pages D-81 to D-84); and (3) the proposal to reduce the county share of costs for trial courts by half of the amount required in law (see pages D-118 to D-120).

Table of Contents

Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Overview D-5

Spending by Major Program D-6

Major Budget Changes D-6

Crosscutting Issues D-11

A "Containment" Strategy for

Adult Sex Offenders on Parole D-11

The Tobacco Settlement D-40

Departmental Issues D-55

Department of Corrections (5240) D-55

Board of Corrections (5430) D-81

Board of Prison Terms (5440) D-85

Department of the Youth Authority (5460) D-89

Youthful Offender Parole Board (5450) D-110

Trial Court Funding D-116

Judicial (0250) D-126

Department of Justice (0820) D-131

Findings and Recommendations D-137


Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Total expenditures for judiciary and criminal justice programs are proposed to increase slightly in the budget year. The principal reasons for the increase are (1) recent legislation that required the state to take on the primary responsibility for funding the trial courts, and (2) continuing, but slower, increases in the state's prison and parole populations. The additional costs are partially offset by federal fund reimbursements for incarceration and supervision of undocumented immigrants which the budget assumes will increase significantly in the budget year. The budget proposes few new programs and does not fully implement a number of programs as directed by the Legislature last year.

The budget proposes total expenditures of $6.6 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs in 1999-00. This is an increase of $214 million, or 3.4 percent, above estimated current-year spending. The increase is due primarily to increases in the state's costs for supporting the trial courts and the projected increase in the state's prison inmate and parole populations. These increases are partially offset by federal fund support that the budget assumes the state will receive to pay the costs of incarcerating undocumented felons in state prison.

The budget proposes General Fund expenditures of $6 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs, an increase of $171 million, or 2.9 percent, above estimated General Fund expenditures in the current year.

Figure 1 (see next page) shows expenditures from all state funds for judiciary and criminal justice programs since 1992-93. Expenditures for 1994-95 through 1999-00 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 $2.4 billion since 1992-93, representing an average annual increase of 6.9 percent.

Spending by Major Program

Figure 2 shows expenditures for the major judiciary and criminal justice programs in 1997-98, 1998-99, and as proposed for 1999-00. As the figure shows, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) accounts for the largest share of total spending in the criminal justice area.

Major Budget Changes

Figure 3 (see page 8) presents the major budget changes resulting in a net increase of $214 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 Increases, But Assumes Slower Growth in Caseloads. This includes funding for projected growth in the state's prison, ward, and parole populations. The budget contains no proposals that would result in any significant reduction
Figure 2
Judiciary and Criminal Justice Budget
1997-98 Through 1999-00

(Dollars in Millions)







Change From


Amount Percent
Department of Corrections
General Fund $3,621.3 $3,900.4 $4,035.8 $135.4 3.5%
Special funds 41.8 43.3 45.8 2.6 5.9
Reimbursements and

federal funds

111.2 80.6 69.3 -11.3 -14.0
Totals $3,774.3 $4,024.3 $4,150.9 $126.6 3.1%
Department of the

Youth Authority

General Fund $329.6 $315.9 $320.4 $4.5 1.4%
Bond funds and

special funds

12.9 6.3 2.0 -4.3 -68.2
Reimbursements and

federal funds

48.0 66.6 69.5 2.9 4.3
Totals $390.5 $388.8 $391.9 $3.1 0.8%
Federal offset for

undocumented felons

$241.0 $172.7 $272.7 $100.0 57.9%
Trial Court Funding
General Fund $399.2 $699.2 $814.8 $115.6 16.5%
Special funds 278.8 411.4 454.4 43.0 10.5
County contribution 415.9 555.2 504.3 -50.8 -9.2
Totals $1,093.9 $1,665.8 $1,773.6 $107.8 6.5%
General Fund $187.9 $213.2 $237.8 $24.6 11.5%
Other funds and


35.8 48.6 51.1 2.5 5.1
Totals $223.7 $261.8 $288.9 $27.1 10.4%
Department of Justice
General Fund $247.0 $263.8 $237.5 -$26.3 -10.0%
Special funds 73.2 79.9 81.1 1.2 1.5
Federal funds 25.0 36.1 40.7 4.6 12.8
Reimbursements 94.6 104.4 120.9 16.6 15.9
Totals $439.8 $484.2 $480.3 -$3.9 -0.8%

Figure 3
Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Proposed Major Changes for 1999-00

All State Funds

Department of Corrections Requested: $4.2 billion
Increase: $127 million (+3.1%)
+$67.3 million for inmate and parole population increases
+$31.4 million for employee compensation adjustments
+$43.6 million for various program changes

- $37.5 million for various one-time expenditures
Trial Court Funding Requested: $1.8 billion
Increase: $108 million (+6.5%)
+$48 million to reduce county share of costs
+$20 million for salary increases for local court employees
+$19.2 million for county-provided services charged back to trial courts
+$10 million to promote improvements and efficiencies in courts
Department of Justice Requested: $480 million
Decrease: $3.9 million (-0.8%)
+$6.9 million for staffing and equipment for lab work on DNA samples
+$5 million for continued defense in the Stringfellow case
+$4.5 million to share criminal history information with other states
+$4 million for equipment and vehicle replacement

- $15.5 million for lab work that would be charged to users
- $9.2 million for tobacco litigation expenses
in the growth in these populations. However, the budget assumes that the prison inmate population will grow at a significantly slower rate than in recent years, based on the most recent trends. (We discuss inmate population trends in detail in our analysis of CDC later in this chapter.)

The budget does not propose to construct any new state-operated prisons but does propose to move forward with projects authorized last year that would build 1,000 additional prison beds on the grounds of existing prisons (these facilities would not come on-line during the budget year, however). The budget also proposes staffing to contract for an additional 2,000 beds in privately operated detention facilities that were authorized last year.

In addition, the budget proposes to provide full funding for workload increases in other judicial and criminal justice programs, such as the Judicial Council's Court-Appointed Counsel Program and various programs in the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The Budget Assumes a Substantial Increase in Federal Fund Reimbursements for Incarceration and Parole of Undocumented Immigrant Offenders. The budget assumes that the state will receive $273 million in federal funds in 1999-00 to offset the state's costs to incarcerate and supervise undocumented immigrants in CDC and the Department of the Youth Authority. This is an increase of $100 million, or 58 percent, above the administration's estimate of federal funds for the current year. These federal funds are counted as offsets to state expenditures and are not shown in the budgets of CDC and the Youth Authority, or in the budget bill. (We discuss the Governor's budget assumption regarding the projected increase in our analysis of CDC.)

The Budget Is Not Consistent With Provisions of Current Law and Legislative Direction in Several Areas. The Governor's budget proposal does not fully implement several programs as intended by the Legislature. For example, legislation enacted last year reduced the amounts that 38 counties are required to pay the state to support the trial courts beginning in 1999-00, for a savings to counties (and corresponding costs to the General Fund) of $96 million. The Governor's budget, however, makes only half of the required reduction in county contributions, resulting in General Fund savings to the state of $48 million in the budget year. The budget indicates that a budget trailer bill will make the change in law to allow the lower reduction in county contributions. (We discuss this issue in our analysis of Trial Court Funding.)

In addition, the Governor's budget does not fully implement a number of state and local programs enacted in legislation last year that were designed to slow the growth in prison population and assist local criminal justice agencies. Although some of the slow-down in implementation is due to technical reasons, others are the result of policy decisions by the administration. (We discuss these issues in our analyses of CDC and the Board of Corrections.)

The Budget Proposes Relatively Few Significant Program Initiatives. Like the overall budget proposal, the budget for judiciary and criminal justice programs can be characterized as a "workload" budget that provides funds to support workload growth but does not contain many new program initiatives. In addition, many of the program initiatives proposed, such as augmentations for various consumer-oriented legal programs in the DOJ, are relatively small. Other initiatives involve redirection of existing resources or changes in program content, such as the proposed changes in the COPS (Citizens' Option for Public Safety) program which provides funds on a per capita basis to local governments for criminal justice programs (we discuss this program in our analysis of "Local Government Finance" in the General Government Chapter of this Analysis). Finally, some initiatives actually result in General Fund savings, such as the proposal to charge fees to state and local agencies that use services provided by DOJ's crime labs which the budget estimates will generate General Fund savings of $15.5 million in the budget year. (We discuss this proposal in our analysis of DOJ.)

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