Legislative Analyst's Office

Analysis of the 2002-03 Budget Bill


Overview

Total expenditures for judiciary and criminal justice programs are proposed to decrease slightly in the budget year. The principal reasons for the decrease are (1) a projected decline in the inmate and ward populations (2) a proposed shift of funding for certain programs from the General Fund to special funds, and (3) assumed growth in federal funds for incarcerated undocumented felons.

Expenditure Proposal and Trends

The budget proposes total expenditures of $8.2 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs in 2002-03. This is a decrease of $116 million, or 1.4 percent, below estimated current-year spending. The decrease reflects a combination of factors including a projected decline in the state's inmate and ward populations, budget adjustments for one-time expenditures, proposed shifts of funding for certain programs from the General Fund to special funds--such as Workforce Investment Act funds--and assumed growth in federal funds for undocumented felons. The budget also proposes an increase in court filing fees.

General Fund expenditures total $7.4 billion for judiciary and criminal justice programs which is a decrease of about $46 million (less than 1 percent) below estimated General Fund expenditures in the current year.

Figure 1 shows expenditures from all state funds for judiciary and criminal justice programs since 1995-96. Expenditures for 1996-97 through 2002-03 have been reduced to reflect federal funds the state has 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 $3.1 billion since 1995-96, representing an average annual increase of 7.2 percent.

Spending by Major Program

Figure 2 shows expenditures from all sources for the major judiciary and criminal justice programs in 2000-01, 2001-02, and as proposed for 2002-03. 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

2000-01 Through 2002-03
(Dollars in Millions)

 

Actual
2000-01

Estimated
2001-02

Proposed 2002-03

Change From 2001-02

 

Amount

Percent

Department of Corrections

General Fund

$4,525.6

$4,693.3

$4,691.1

-$2.2

0.0%

Special funds

45.8

45.9

45.8

-0.1

-0.2

Reimbursements and
federal funds

93.8

91.6

65.6

-26.0

-28.4

  Totals

$4,665.2

$4,830.8

$4,802.5

-$28.3

-0.6%

Department of the Youth Authority

General Fund

$347.9

$357.3

$335.7

-$21.6

-6.0%

Bond funds and
special funds

0.9

0.9

0.8

-0.1

-11.1

Reimbursements and
federal funds

78.1

78.7

79.7

1.0

1.3

  Totals

$426.9

$436.9

$416.2

-$20.7

-4.7%

Federal Offset for
  Undocumented Felons

$167.7

$158.3

$208.3

$50.0

31.6%

Trial Court Funding

General Fund

$1,140.5

$1,162.7

$1,206.5

$43.8

3.8%

Special funds

355.7

593.4

529.4

-64.0

-10.8

County contribution

459.5

475.1

475.1

0.0

0.0

  Totals

$1,955.7

$2,231.2

$2,211.0

-$20.2

-0.9%

Judicial

General Fund

$263.8

$291.6

$294.6

$3.0

1.0%

Other funds and
reimbursements

46.6

55.3

55.2

-0.1

-0.2

  Totals

$310.4

$346.9

$349.8

$2.9

0.8%

Department of Justice

General Fund

$294.8

$353.6

$323.8

-$29.8

-8.4%

Special funds

109.2

131.1

134.1

3.0

2.3

Federal funds

38.2

31.2

28.0

-3.2

-10.3

Reimbursements

113.4

133.5

133.1

-0.4

-0.3

  Totals

$555.6

$649.4

$619.0

-$30.4

-4.7%

 

Major Budget Changes

Figure 3 presents the major budget changes for judiciary and criminal justice programs. These and other changes are described below:

Relatively Few Significant Program Initiatives. The budget, for the most part, continues funding for recent expansions of judicial and criminal justice programs. For example, it provides full funding in the budget year for local law enforcement grants, and continues funding for technology grants and the War on Methamphetamine. In response to the projected decline in the inmate population, the budget proposes to deactivate some of CDC's low-level offender beds for modest budget savings. The budget also proposes to substitute Federal Workforce Investment Act Funds for the General Fund ($13 million) in CDC.

The Budget Proposes to Provide Full Funding for Caseload, but Does Not Address Ongoing Deficiencies in CDC. The budget provides full funding for caseload and workload adjustments. However, it does not provide funding for ongoing problems in CDC's budget, such as overtime and sick leave. As a result, CDC could potentially face significant General Fund deficiencies in both the current and budget years. We discuss this issue further in our analysis of the CDC budget proposal.

The Budget Assumes Unrealistic Increase in Federal Fund Reimbursements. The budget assumes the state will receive a $50 million increase in the federal funds for undocumented felons. In order for California to receive a $50 million augmentation, the federal fiscal year 2002-03 appropriation would have to increase by $275 million, the largest single increase since the program's inception. This seems unlikely given that the President's 2002-03 budget proposes to eliminate the federal grant for undocumented felons.

Escalating Costs for Trial Courts. For the third consecutive year, the trial court budget proposes expanded support for court security ($13 million), and the increased cost of county-provided services, which the state is now obligated to pay ($14 million). The budget provides $52 million for negotiated salary adjustments for trial court employees. In addition, the budget proposes to add a surcharge of 20 percent on all criminal fines, and a surcharge of 10 percent on civil filing fees. These surcharges are expected to generate about $61 million in General Fund revenue.

Figure 3

Judiciary and Criminal Justice
Proposed Major Changes for 2002-03
All Funds

 

Department of Corrections

Requested:

$4.8 billion

 

Decrease:

$28 million

(-0.6%)

 

     $5.1 million for deactivation of five community correctional facilities

     $3.4 million for cancellation of 425 community correctional reentry center beds

     $13 million shifted from General Fund to Workforce Investment
Act funds

     $3.2 million for legal staff

 

Trial Court Funding

Requested:

$2.2 billion

 

Decrease:

$20 million

(-0.9%)

 

+     $52 million for salary adjustments and other court needs

+     $13 million for court security

+     $14 million for increased county costs


 

     $38 million (onetime) for delayed jury reform and other trial
court reductions

     $28 million resulting from one-time funds transfer

 

Department of Justice

Requested:

$619 million

 

Decrease:

$30 million

(-4.7%)

 

     $5 million for corrections related litigation

     $5 million for overtime and other expenses

     $3 million for information technology enhancements

 

 


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