Analysis of the 2007-08 Budget Bill: Judicial and Criminal Justice


Combined General Fund expenditures for judicial and criminal justice programs are proposed to increase by 8.7 percent in the budget year. This increase in the support budget reflects (1) inflation adjustments for various departments, including the Judicial Branch, (2) projected growth in the adult prison population, (3) costs for implementation of various federal court settlements and orders in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), primarily relating to the improvement of inmate health care, and (4) new and expanded state programs, including CDCR and Department of Justice proposals relating to sex offenders. The capital outlay budget proposes about $10 billion to construct additional prison and jail space that would be financed mainly with lease-revenue bonds and $2 billion in general obligation bonds for new courthouses.

Expenditure Proposal and Trends

Budget Year. The budget proposes General Fund expenditures of about $13 billion for judicial and criminal justice programs, which is almost 13 percent of all General Fund spending. This amount—which includes support for operations, capital outlay, and debt-service for related facilities—represents an increase of about $1 billion, or 8.7 percent, above the proposed revised level of current-year spending for these programs. Most of the increase in this area is proposed for CDCR. Significant increases are also proposed for the Judicial Branch. General Fund spending for the Department of Justice (DOJ) would remain fairly level under the Governor’s budget proposal.

Historical Trend. Figure 1 shows expenditures for judicial and criminal justice programs since 2000-01. These expenditures have been reduced to reflect federal funds the state has or is expected to receive to offset the costs of incarceration of undocumented felons. The figure shows that General Fund expenditures for judicial and criminal justice programs are projected to increase by almost $5.6 billion, or 75 percent, between 2000-01 and 2007-08, an average annual increase of 8.3 percent. Special funds expenditures for these programs also grew significantly in this period. As a result, combined General Fund and special fund expenditures are estimated to increase almost $7 billion, or 90 percent, from 2000-01 through 2007-08.

State expenditures increased during this period mostly due to (1) the state’s assumption of primary responsibility for funding trial court operations, (2) increased labor costs to operate the state corrections system, and (3) court-ordered expansions and improvements of inmate and ward programs, particularly for health care services. These increases in costs are partly offset by proposals for policy changes in the budget year that would reduce the population of offenders that would otherwise be held in adult and juvenile facilities.

Adjusting for Inflation. Figure 1 also displays the spending for these programs adjusted for inflation (constant dollars). On this basis, General Fund expenditures are estimated to increase by 43 percent from 2000-01 through 2007-08. Combined General Fund and special funds expenditures are estimated to increase by 56 percent during this same period when adjusted for inflation.

Spending by Major Program

Figure 2 shows expenditures from all sources for the operation of major judicial and criminal justice programs in 2005-06, 2006-07, and as proposed for 2007-08. (Capital outlay and debt-related expenditures from general obligation bonds are not included in Figure 2.) As the figure shows, CDCR accounts for the largest share of total spending in the criminal justice area, followed by the Judicial Branch, DOJ, and certain criminal justice programs budgeted as local assistance.


Figure 2

Judicial and Criminal Justice Budget Summary

2005‑06 Through 2007‑08
(Dollars in Millions)



Estimated 2006‑07

Proposed 2007‑08

Change From



Department of Corrections
And Rehabilitation




General Funda






Special funds






Reimbursements and federal funds












Federal Offset for
Undocumented Felons




Judicial Branchb






General Fund






Special funds and reimbursements






County contribution










Department of Justice






General Fund






Special funds and reimbursements






Federal funds












Criminal Justice
Local Assistance





 Totals may not add due to rounding.

a    Includes Proposition 98, and excludes capital outlay and debt service.

b    Excludes Commission on Judicial Performance and Judges’ Retirement System contributions.


Spending is proposed to increase in CDCR and the Judicial Branch but essentially remain level in the other two major programs. Under the budget proposal, CDCR would receive the largest dollar increase in General Fund support. The department would also experience the largest percentage increase from all sources relative to its estimated current-year spending. However, the largest percentage increase from the General Fund is proposed for the Judicial Branch, which includes the Trial Court Funding program and the judiciary (the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and Judicial Council).

Major Budget Changes

Figure 3 presents the major budget changes for judicial and criminal justice programs. These and other changes are described below. The amounts shown below reflect the General Fund increase proposed for 2007-08 relative to the revised level of spending proposed for 2006-07.


Figure 3

Judicial and Criminal Justice
Proposed Major Changes for 2007‑08
General Fund





Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation


$9.6 billion





$611 million







+     $201 million to reflect full-year cost of programs begun in 2006‑07



+     $148 million to implement federal court orders and settlements



+     $92 million for tighter supervision and management of sex offenders



+     $65 million for projected changes in inmate, ward, and parole populations



+     $63 million for inflation adjustments for operating expenses and equipment



+     $50 million for a new adult probation grant program



+     $46 million to improve facility maintenance



+     $36 million to improve information technology systems



+     $23 million for a statewide effort to upgrade equipment






     $67 million to reflect discontinuation of one-time funding occurring in 2006‑07



     $57 million from changes in parole policies, such as discharging low-level offenders



     $43 million from shifting some state wards to local facilities






Judicial Branch


$2.3 billion





$244 million







+     $130 million for inflation and growth adjustment for trial courts



+     $48 million to reflect full-year cost of programs begun in 2006‑07



+     $17 million to implement recent legislation to better regulate conservatorships






Population, Inflation, and Technical Budget Adjustments. The budget funds projected changes in CDCR inmate and ward populations as well as in the parole populations (a net increase of $65 million). It provides adjustments for the full-year cost of new or expanded programs that began operation in the current year ($201 million), inflation increases for operating expenses and equipment ($63 million), and a reduction in spending to reflect the discontinuation in 2007-08 of one-time spending that will occur in 2006-07 (-$67 million).

Corrections Court Orders and Settlements. The budget identifies new spending ($148 million) for the continued rollout of previous federal court orders and settlements affecting CDCR operations. These include Plata, relating to inmate medical care (a Receiver was appointed last year by the federal court to manage this care); Coleman, relating to mental health care; Perez, relating to inmate dental care; Farrell, relating to various conditions of confinement within youth correctional facilities; and Rutherford, relating to ensuring timely parole hearings for inmates sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

New Correctional Programs. The budget proposes increased expenditures for CDCR in 2007-08 to implement new programs to tighten the supervision and management of sex offenders, including (1) Proposition 83, the “Jessica’s Law” initiative approved by voters in November 2006, (2) Chapter 337, Statutes of 2006 (SB 1128, Alquist), and (3) recommendations of a task force on sex offender management issues appointed by the Governor. These increased expenditures totaling $92 million are in addition to $30 million from the General Fund proposed to initiate these programs in 2006-07. Under the budget plan, CDCR would also receive funding for a new adult probation grant program ($50 million), efforts to improve information technology systems ($36 million), improvements in the maintenance of facilities ($46 million), and upgraded equipment ($23 million).

Policy Changes to Reduce Adult and Juvenile Institution Populations. The budget plan assumes that the state will achieve General Fund savings of $57 million in the CDCR budget for adult offenders primarily from changes in parole policies, such as discharging from parole some offenders who have stayed out of trouble for one year and discharging low-level offenders from prison without putting them on parole at all. Similarly, CDCR’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is assumed to achieve net savings (-$43 million) by shifting some wards to facilities operated by local jurisdictions. Specifically, the budget assumes, among other policy changes, that DJJ will stop the intake of female offenders and parole violators who were originally adjudicated for a nonviolent offense and return some offenders to counties. Counties would be provided block grant funds to support the costs of housing and providing services for offenders shifted out of DJJ facilities.

Judicial Branch Spending. The budget proposes several augmentations for the Judicial Branch. These consist of inflation and growth adjustments for trial courts based on the year-to-year change in the State Appropriations Limit ($130 million) as well as adjustments for the full-year cost of new or expanded programs that began operation in the current year ($48 million).

Judicial Branch Policy Changes Proposed in Budget. The budget reflects the implementation of various policy changes relating to the Judicial Branch. The budget plan would also implement 2006 legislation (Chapters 492 [SB 1716, Bowen] and Chapter 493 [AB 1363, Jones]) to better protect individuals who are placed into conservatorships because they are not competent to manage their own affairs ($17 million). In addition, the budget proposes to permanently extend a 20 percent surcharge on criminal fines that was set to expire on July 1, 2007. The proceeds of this surcharge, which are estimated to be $55 million in the budget year, are deposited in the General Fund and do not directly affect the budget for the Judicial Branch itself.

Capital Outlay Proposals for Corrections, Courts, and DOJ. The administration has included $10 billion in state funding in the CDCR capital outlay budget (primarily from lease-revenue bonds) for additional prison construction and jail beds and various improvements to existing prisons. Key components of the capital outlay request include adding bed space and program space at existing prisons ($2.7 billion), building secure reentry facilities in communities for inmates otherwise held in state prisons ($1.6 billion), construction of local jails and juvenile facilities ($4.4 billion matched by $1.1 billion in local funds), new medical facilities to comply with various federal court orders and settlements ($1 billion), and a new death row facility at San Quentin ($268 million). The administration also would address prison capacity issues outside of the capital outlay budget with proposals to shift low-level offenders from state prison to county jails, establish a commission to further review state sentencing laws, transfer 2,260 inmates to facilities in other states, and begin work to contract for 4,350 beds for female offenders in the community.

As part of its capital outlay plans for other agencies, the administration has proposed a $2 billion general obligation bond issue in 2008 to expand courthouses and announced that it will present the Legislature with a plan by March 2007 for a new $400 million DNA laboratory that would be operated by DOJ.

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