LAO 2003 Budget Analysis: Judiciary and Criminal Justice

Legislative Analyst's Office

Analysis of the 2003-04 Budget Bill

Office of Criminal Justice Planning (8100)

The Office of Criminal Justice Planning (OCJP) provides financial and technical assistance to state agencies, local governments, and the private sector for criminal justice programs such as crime prevention, victim and witness services, law enforcement, and juvenile justice. The OCJP has primary responsibility for the administration of federal criminal justice and victims' grant programs, and acts as the grant agency for providing state-administered local assistance.

The Governor's budget proposes total expenditures of $254 million for OCJP in 2003-04, including $64.6 million from the General Fund. The total budget reflects a net decrease of $12.7 million, or about 5 percent, below estimated current-year expenditures. The General Fund amount is approximately $6 million, or 8.3 percent, below the current year revised amount. The overall reduction is largely the result of the Governor's proposal to shift the Domestic Violence Program from OCJP to the Department of Health Services (DHS). In addition, the budget proposes to reduce public safety and victim services local assistance programs by about $3.4 million.

State Should Shift OCJP Functions to Other Departments

We recommend shifting the Office of Criminal Justice Planning (OCJP) programs to other departments because OCJP's mission and programs overlap significantly with those of other departments and because of OCJP's history of poor performance in the administration of its programs.

OCJP's Role in Criminal Justice. Currently, OCJP is the designated state agency for the administration of several large federal grant programs. The federal grants include the Violence Against Women Act, Victims of Crime Act, Byrne Act, and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. As the lead agency responsible for the administration of these federal grants, the OCJP provides quarterly financial and annual programmatic information to the federal government on these programs. The OCJP also provides staff support to several advisory committees. In addition to these federal programs, OCJP administers numerous other state initiated programs aimed at addressing public safety, victim services, and juvenile justice. For the most part, OCJP is a vehicle for disbursing federal and state funds to local government and community-based organizations, as compared to directly administering programs.

Bureau of State Audit (BSA) Finds Department Severely Lacking in Its Primary Functions. At the request of the Legislature, BSA issued an audit report in October 2002 examining how well OCJP administers its programs. In particular, the BSA was requested to review how the department makes decisions on which grant applicants to approve or deny for receipt of federal and state funds. The BSA also investigated OCJP's program monitoring and evaluation process. Overall, the BSA audit found that while OCJP met some of its responsibilities in administering state and federal grant programs, it failed to meet other important responsibilities. The findings generally fall into two categories: those relating to the applications review process, and those relating to program evaluations.

Significant Programmatic Overlap. The OCJP programs fall into three broad categories: victim services, public safety, and juvenile justice. The primary mission of the victim services programs is to help victims overcome the trauma of crime and to help communities prevent violent crimes. For the most part, this is achieved by providing grants—mainly federal grants, such as Violence Against Women Act grants—to state, local, and community-based organizations for the administration of programs. This mission, or components thereof, is shared by other state agencies, such as the DHS and the California Victim Compensation and Claims Board (CVCCB). The CVCCB, for example, works with local governments and community-based nonprofit victim support organizations to provide education and outreach to victims of crime. Some of these same counties and community-based organizations receive grants from OCJP for the provision of victim-related services.

Through its public safety programs OCJP provides funds and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies throughout the state, including district attorney's offices, sheriff's departments, and probation departments. These funds help support crime prevention and targeted law enforcement activities. Other departments, most notably the Board of Corrections (BOC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), share these same broad goals and objectives. Below we discuss specific examples of overlap and program duplication in law enforcement and juvenile delinquency programs.

In terms of the public safety mission, there is evidence of overlap of effort between DOJ and OCJP. For example, both OCJP and the DOJ have programs that target methamphetamine-related crimes. The OCJP administers the War on Methamphetamine program, while DOJ administers the California Methamphetamine Strategy (CALMS). The programs share the same goal in that both seek to reduce and eradicate the illegal production of methamphetamine through increased arrests, prosecutions, and lab seizures. The only major difference is that OCJP provides funds to local government, while DOJ funds state-level law enforcement officers who provide technical assistance to the local agencies in support of their law enforcement efforts. In addition, it should be noted that both programs are maintaining or developing a database to track the locations of labs and the number of seizures.

Based upon our assessment, we can find no benefit to having these programs administered by separate departments. From both an administrative and cost-efficiency perspective, it would be more beneficial to have all of the existing methamphetamine activities under one department, thereby reducing the likelihood of duplication and improving the level of coordination between state and local agencies.

As regards juvenile justice programs, the OCJP administers about $30 million in federal funds that support several programs aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency and juvenile crimes, including the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention program, the Juvenile Justice-Project Challenge Grant program, and the Community Delinquency Prevention program. These programs generally provide local assistance to counties and other agencies to conduct programs that are intended to decrease juvenile delinquency. These OCJP programs are very similar to programs administered by the BOC, in particular the Juvenile Crime Enforcement and Accountability Challenge Grant Program and the Crime Prevention Act of 2000 which are designed to reduce the threat of juvenile crime and delinquency.

In recognition of the overlap between OCJP and DHS, the Governor's budget proposes to transfer the Domestic Violence Program from the victim services branch of OCJP to DHS. We believe the Governor's proposal is a good first step toward addressing the duplication between OCJP and other agencies. However, as we discuss below, the state could potentially achieve greater efficiencies through complete consolidation of OCJP into other agencies with related goals and similar programs.

Consolidating Should Improve Service Delivery and Efficiency. We believe that consolidating OCJPs programs into other departments that have the same goals, and/or serve similar constituencies would likely improve these programs and result in program efficiencies. For example, consolidating both of the methamphetamine programs into one division at DOJ should result in program efficiencies since one department would oversee all aspects of the program. Likewise, consolidating all juvenile justice programs into one division at BOC, would allow local governments that receive existing BOC funds as well as OCJP funds to apply to one department for these grant funds instead of two. Furthermore, BOC staff could use their knowledge of the programs available in these communities to maximize the use of these resources.

In view of its poor performance record and overlapping functions with other state agencies, we recommend that OCJP programs be transferred to other state departments, as shown in Figure 1. We believe that such a consolidation would likely improve service delivery and efficiency.

Estimated Administrative Savings. In addition to improving service delivery and efficiency, program consolidation would result in General Fund savings, as well as freeing up additional federal funds to support victims and law enforcement programs. For 2002-03, OCJP had 163 authorized positions distributed as follows: 28 in the executive office, 49 in administration, and 86 for program operations. We recommend that all of the program positions be transferred to the recommended departments, thus retaining all program capabilities necessary to carry out the shifted programs. Within the executive office, we recommend eliminating 17 positions, and moving 11 positions to the affected departments. Of the 49 administration positions, we recommend eliminating 34 positions and transferring 15 (1 Staff Services Manager, 1 Staff Services Analyst, 1 Information Systems Analyst, 1 Accounting Technician, and 1 Office Technician to each of the departments to which programs would be transferred). In total, this results in a reduction of 23 positions and salary savings of $2.9 million. When staff benefits and operating expenses and equipment are incorporated, total savings are approximately $5.3 million. Based on the 29 percent General Fund share of state operations costs at OCJP, General Fund savings from this consolidation are estimated to be $1.5 million, leaving $3.7 million in federal funds that could be used for programs.

Figure 1

LAO Recommended Transfer of OCJP Programs



LAO Recommendation

Victim Programs


Victim’s Compensation Board

Juvenile Justice Programs


Board of Corrections

Public Safety Programs


Department of Justice

Conclusion. The OCJP is primarily a vehicle for disbursing federal funds, and the department's mission and programs overlap with those of other departments. Moreover, OCJP has a history of poor performance in the administration of its programs, which the recent BSA report confirms is still a problem. Shifting OCJP's functions to other department as we recommend would likely improve the efficiency of state government and save an estimated $1.5 million (General Fund). It would also free up an estimated $3.7 million in federal funds (currently used for administration) that could be used to expand existing public safety, juvenile justice, or victim services programs or to establish new programs.

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