Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2395527
 


 



Follow the Money: How California Counties are Spending Their Public Safety Realignment Funds


Jeffrey Lin


University of Denver

Joan Petersilia


Stanford University

January 1, 2014


Abstract:     
The California correctional system is undergoing a dramatic transformation under Assembly Bill 109 (“Realignment”), a law that shifted responsibility from the state to the counties for tens of thousands of offenders. To help manage this change, the state will distribute $4.4 billion to the counties by 2016-2017. While the legislation directs counties to use these funds for community-based programs, counties retain a substantial amount of spending discretion. Some are expanding offender treatment capacities, while others are shoring up enforcement and control apparatuses. In this report we examine counties’ AB 109 spending reports and budgets to determine which counties emphasize enforcement and which emphasize treatment. We also identify counties that continue to emphasize prior orientations toward punishment and counties that have shifted their priorities in response to Realignment. We then apply quantitative and comparative methods to county budget data to identify political, economic, and criminal justice-related factors that may explain higher AB 109 spending on enforcement or higher spending on treatment, relative to other counties. In short, our analysis shows that counties that elect to allocate more AB 109 funds to enforcement and control generally appear to be responding to local criminal justice needs, including high crime rates, a shortage of law enforcement personnel, and a historic preference for using prison to punish drug offenders. Counties that favor a greater investment in offender treatment and services, meanwhile, are typified by strong electoral support for the Sheriff and relatively under-funded district attorneys and probation departments.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 98

Keywords: California; Public Safety Realignment; corrections; spending; criminal justice

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Date posted: February 15, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Lin, Jeffrey and Petersilia, Joan, Follow the Money: How California Counties are Spending Their Public Safety Realignment Funds (January 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2395527 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2395527

Contact Information

Jeffrey Lin (Contact Author)
University of Denver ( email )
Denver, CO 80208-2685
United States
Joan Petersilia
Stanford University ( email )
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
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