CURB Overview of 2019-20 Corrections Budget: May Revise

by Amber Rose Howard

Governor Newsom’s revised 2019-20 budget for corrections has increased to $12.8 billion. While there are some good things included in the budget, we notice an increased capacity for health and mental health services inside California Prisons. According to a report by the California Budget & Policy Center, 80% of CDCR’s budget goes to operations and health related services. “People experiencing mental illness “are especially sensitive to the unique stresses and traumas of prison life, and their psychiatric conditions often deteriorate as a result.”[1]While people who are incarcerated are deserving health treatments, CURB maintains our position that prisons are not acceptable wellness or mental health facilities. Nobody can get well in a cell. Instead of wasting resources to stretch the span of destructive prisons, where individuals cannot be properly treated, there is an urgent need to reduce spending on corrections and increase community-based health and mental health related services so that people’s needs are addressed and they do not end up in a cage.

Since 2013, the state prison system has gone from 150% of design capacity to 134.8 percent of design capacity,  just below the court-ordered cap of 137.5%. While the adult prison population is steadily decreasing, more aggressive, retroactive parole and sentencing reform should be prioritized to allow necessary prison closures and increased investment in community. CURB maintains our opposition to any and all forms of prison and jail construction and expansion.

CURB Overview of May Budget Revise 2019-20

Population Reduction:

  • Changes in the adult prisoners and parole population have resulted in a net decrease of $4.2 million General Fund in 2018-19 and 2019-20 combined.
  • Implementation of Prop. 57:Estimated to reduce the average daily adult prison population by approximately 6,500 in 2019-20, and approximately 10,600 in 2021-22.
    • Average daily population projections for adult prisoners are 127,993 in the current year and 126,705 in the budget year, a decrease of 341 in 2018-19 and 266 in 2019-20.
    • Average daily population projection for people on paroleis 48,535 in the current year and 50,442 in the budget year, a decrease of 166 in the current year and an increase of 497 in the budget year.
    • Out of State Facilities:All prisoners will be removed from Arizona by June 2019. Continued decarceration policies have ended out of state prison contracts, opening up the opportunity to arrange prison closures, beginning with CRC at Norco or Pelican Bay.

 

Construction and Facility Changes: CURB is happy to see no additional jail construction dollars in this years budget on top of the $1.3 billion for county jail construction proposals in 30 counties that was already approved in the past few years.

  • Division of Juvenile Justice– effective July 1, 2020 will be removed from Dept. of Corrections to a new department will be called the Department of Youth and Community Restoration to provide trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate services in order to support a youth’s return to their community, preventing them from entering the adult system.
    • $1.2 million ongoing General Fund for key staff to plan for the transition.
    • $1.4 million ongoing General Fund to create a partnership between DJJ and the California Conservation Corps to develop and implement an apprenticeship program.

 

Additional Budget Changes

  • The Good
    • Reentry Programs-$8.8 million ongoing General Fund to establish two new 60-bed reentry female facilities in Los Angeles and Riverside, and expand an existing male facility in Los Angeles by 10 beds. And $1.5 million ongoing General Fund to provide a five-percent contract rate increase for Male Community Reentry Program providers.
    • Violence Intervention and Prevention Program- increased allocations to $27 million for the program in 2019-20 for grants to eligible cities and community based organizations for funding to support services such as community education, diversion programs, outreach to at-risk transitional age youth, and violence reduction models.
    • Project Rebound—additional $750,000 ongoing General Fund to support Project Rebound, a California State University (CSU) program that provides assistance to formerly incarcerated individuals seeking to enroll in participating CSU campuses. This brings total ongoing funding for this program to$1 million General Fund and is included in the CSU’s budget.

 

  • The Bad- Wasteful spending to continue the trend of Prisons as mental health facilities. Human beings can’t get well in a cell!
    • $71.3 million General Fund in 2019-20 and $161.9 million ongoing General Fund beginning in 2020-21 to implement an integrated substance use disorder treatment program throughout all 35 CDCR institutions.
    • $3.5 billion General Fund to health care services programs which provide access to mental health, medical and dental care
    • $114.3 million General Fund for healthcare operations.
    • $95.6 million General Fund for contracted medical, pharmaceuticals, clinical staffing and leased office space.

 

  • The Ugly- CURB maintains our position that dollars should not continue to increase the capacity of local corrections to supervise returned citizens, but that resources should be shifted into basic human and health services for people to thrive once returned to the community. Providing incentives to keep counties from sending people to prison has increased county jail populations rather than creating alternatives to incarceration.
    • Post Release Community Supervision—$14.8 million General Fund for county probation departments to supervise the temporary increase in the average daily population as a result of the implementation of Proposition 57.
    • Community Corrections Performance Incentive Grant– $112.8 million General Fund to continue the reduction in the number of felony probationers sent to state prison. Statutes of 2009 (SB 678)
    • Prop 47– The Department of Finance currently estimates net savings of $78.4 million General Fund, a decrease of $23,000from the Governor’s Budget estimate for 2018‐19.

 

[1]Most State Corrections Spending Supports Prison Operations or Health-Related Services, Including Mental Health Care April 2019-https://calbudgetcenter.org/resources/most-state-corrections-spending-supports-prison-operations-or-health-related-services-including-mental-health-care/


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Amber Rose Howard


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