New CBP Report Looks at State Corrections Spending After Realignment

In 2011, state policymakers transferred responsibility and funding for public safety and other services from the state to the counties. A major part of this “realignment” was that counties assumed responsibility for certain “low-level” offenders and parolees, all of whom previously would have served state prison sentences and been supervised by state parole agents upon release.

Yesterday, the CBP released a new report that examines state spending on corrections and assesses how it has changed since realignment. A Mixed Picture: State Corrections Spending After the 2011 Realignment shows that:

  • While state corrections spending is below the pre-realignment level — with annual General Fund savings projected to be $1.3 billion in 2013-14 — these savings are largely offset by county corrections spending that is funded with dedicated special fund revenues provided through the state budget.
  • Per capita costs for California’s prison and parole populations have continued to rise in recent years and are much higher than in the mid-1990s, even after adjusting for inflation.
  • More than half (56.5 percent) of the state corrections budget goes toward prison security and operations, while nearly one-quarter (23.7 percent) of corrections dollars pay for adult inmate health care.

A Mixed Picture also includes a status report on the federal court order to reduce California’s state prison population.

— Steven Bliss