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CA State and County Governments Spend Over $20 Billion Annually on Incarceration and Responding to Crime

November 2, 2016

The California Budget & Policy Center has published a new report that analyzes combined state and county spending on incarceration and responding to crime. In 2014-15 (the most recent fiscal year for which figures are available), state and county spending in these areas totaled $20.7 billion, with nearly three-quarters of that amount ($15.1 billion) going toward incarceration.

The goal of the Center's research is to shed light on the level of public resources that go toward addressing — as opposed to preventing — crime in California. This analysis highlights that public spending on incarceration and responding to crime remains high despite the important criminal justice reforms adopted by the voters and state policymakers in recent years. This analysis also points to the importance of making further changes, such as giving state officials new policy options for reducing incarceration (as proposed by Proposition 57 on the November 2016 statewide ballot) and increasing the use of alternatives to incarceration at the county level.

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