RELEASE DATE: December 12, 2017
AUTHORS: JusticeLA, The Center for Popular Democracy and Law 4 Black Lives

Reclaim, Reimagine and Reinvest:
An Analysis of L.A. County’s Criminalization Budget 


Summary

For too long, Los Angeles County (“the County”) has viewed public safety exclusively through a policing and incarceration lens and poured billions of limited public resources into failing solutions. Over the past 20 years, the County has dramatically increased the budgets of its Sheriff’s Department and Probation Department. These decisions were made despite evidence that policing and incarceration do not significantly impact crime rates1 and a mandate from the majority of Californians to decrease reliance on incarceration and punitive responses to public health and safety issues.

This budget brief details the historical, current, and proposed investments in criminalization and incarceration by L.A. County. It then highlights alternative investments in community-based public safety solutions that would provide sustainable development for residents, while simultaneously addressing the root causes of health and safety inequities in the County.

 
Key Findings 
  • For every dollar allocated to the combined Sheriff’s Department and Probation Department budgets, the Affordable Housing Program, which provides funding for the development and preservation of affordable housing, receives less than one cent. 
  • The Department of Mental Health receives 52 cents for every dollar allocated to the combined Sheriff’s Department and Probation Department budgets, the Homeless and Housing Program receives one cent and the Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services receives three cents. 
  • The majority of L.A. County’s incarcerated population is there for nonviolent offenses (about 63 percent of the incarcerated population). These offenses are often a result of efforts to survive without resources, a home, or community support services. 
  • Twenty-five percent of the total population incarcerated in L.A. County jails have mental health needs, which are only exacerbated by jail. Nearly 44 percent of people in L.A. County jails diagnosed with a “serious mental health illness”are Black. 
  • In Los Angeles (the largest city in L.A. County) arrests of homeless people have increased at a faster rate than the growth of the Los Angeles homeless population (21 percent versus 37 percent from 2011 to 2016). Today, one in every three homeless people have been arrested–17 times the arrest rate among the total city population. 
  • Estimates show that up to ten percent of the 8,000 to 10,000 people released from L.A. County jails each month end up homeless and living on the streets. Similarly, those with mental health issues and drug dependency who are processed through the L.A. County jail system are also likely to find themselves re-arrested and re-incarcerated.
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Tweet

For every dollar allocated to the combined #LACounty Sheriff’s Dept. and Probation Dept. budgets, the Affordable Housing Program, which provides funding for the development and preservation of affordable housing, receives less than one cent. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

The Department of Mental Health receives 52 cents for every dollar allocated to the combined #LACounty Sheriff’s Dept and Probation Dept budgets, the Homeless and Housing Program receives one cent. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

.@JusticeLANow @popdemoc and @Law4BlackLives released an analysis of #LACounty’s $3.5 billion criminalization budget. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2z2RxFa #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

It costs #LACounty $247,236 per year to incarcerate ONE young person in ‘Probation Camp.’ The same amount of money could pay for a full year of tuition at Cal State for 50 students. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive


Post on Facebook

For every dollar allocated to the combined #LACounty Sheriff’s Dept. and Probation Dept. budgets, the Affordable Housing Program, which provides funding for the development and preservation of affordable housing, receives less than one cent. Find out more http://bit.ly/2z2RxFa. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

The Department of Mental Health receives 52 cents for every dollar allocated to the combined #LACounty Sheriff’s Dept and Probation Dept budgets, the Homeless and Housing Program receives one cent. Find out more http://bit.ly/2z2RxFa. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

JusticeLA, The Center for Popular Democracy and Law 4 Black Lives released an analysis of #LACounty’s $3.5 billion criminalization budget. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2z2RxFa #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

It costs #LACounty $247,236 per year to incarcerate ONE young person in ‘Probation Camp.’ The same amount of money could pay for a full year of tuition at Cal State for 50 students. Find out more http://bit.ly/2z2RxFa. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive


Post on Instagram

It costs #LACounty $247,236 per year to incarcerate ONE young person in ‘Probation Camp.’ The same amount of money could pay for a full year of tuition at Cal State for 50 students. Find out more http://bit.ly/2z2RxFa. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

It costs #LACounty $281,327 per year to incarcerate ONE young person in Juvenile Hall. The same amount of money could pay for Five mental health counselors in schools. Find out more http://bit.ly/2z2RxFa. #JusticeLANow #FreedomToThrive

About the Authors 
is a partnership of organizations work- ing with directly impacted communities fighting to realize the promise of diversion and re-entry through a justice reinvestment strategy for Los Angeles. justicelanow.org
is a national network of community organizations working to create equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy through a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda. populardemocracy.org
 

is a network of over 3600 radical lawyers, law students, and legal workers committed to helping build the power of Black communities and organizers. law4blacklives.org

 

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