California’s Incredible Prison Spending

This year California’s governor and state legislature are choosing to spend $15 billion on the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), which incarcerates 127,000 prisoners.

$12 billion of the $15 billion is directly reflected in CDCR’s budget:

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Enacted Budget, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Another $3 billion is spent on CDCR-related pension and health costs:

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Governor’s Budget

Salaries are the biggest expense. After the governor and legislature granted four salary increases in the last seven years, 57,000 CDCR employees will collect $5.2 billion this year in salaries:

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Governor’s Budget

At $15 billion, California’s governor and legislature are choosing to spend $118,000 per prisoner. That’s 7x, 9x, 13x and 39x the amounts they’ll spend per K-12, UC, CSU and CCC student.

All it takes is 62 state legislators and the governor to change that math.

Govern For California supports legislators who legislate in the general interest.

Written by

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

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