New Report: $50 Billion Available Annually Across California to Reform Local Policing and Reduce Incarceration

State and Local Leaders’ Budget Decisions Can Help End Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against Black Californians and Other Californians of Color

SACRAMENTO – A new report from the California Budget & Policy Center shows how much money is available across the state in response to calls at the state and local levels to end police brutality, reform local policing, and reduce incarceration that has killed and abused Black Californians for generations.

The new Budget Center report finds

  • California’s 482 cities and 58 counties spent more than $20 billion from all revenue sources on city police and county sheriff’s departments as recently as 2017-18.
  • The state of California and its cities and counties spend roughly $50 billion annually on local law enforcement, the criminal legal system, and incarceration in state prisons and county jails.

“State and local policymakers are doing more than crafting budgets for upcoming fiscal years – they are making decisions about how money gets distributed and spent by police departments, district attorneys, sheriff’s departments, and the state prison system that unjustly punish, incarcerate, and discriminate against Black Californians and other people of color,” said Chris Hoene, Executive Director of the California Budget & Policy Center. “Now is the time to ask, how can and should money be spent to care for and serve our communities?”

Policymakers in the Capitol, Board of Supervisors chambers, and City Halls are also charged with considering the ongoing health and safety needs of Californians amid the COVID-19 crisis as they hold public hearings and determine spending plans in the coming months for their constituents. The Budget Center’s report highlights the need to examine how much money is spent on overly harsh and unfair criminal justice systems that directly affect the lives of Black, Latinx, undocumented Californians, and many other families of color. These criminal justice systems often leave families unable to provide or build economic security for their households.

Learn more about the Budget Center’s analyses and policy recommendations on an array of economic, health, and COVID-19 issues.

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