Significant Changes in the Juvenile Justice Landscape Merited Revisions to the Counties’ Comprehensive Plans
Figure 1 is a chart showing some of the changes in the juvenile justice landscape that occurred since the establishment of JJCPA. Specifically, the chart describes the following strategy changes: In 2010 the State reclassified certain drug crimes from misdemeanors to infractions; in 2014 voters approved a proposition that reduced certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors; and in 2016 voters approved a proposition that reduced criminal penalties for certain marijuana-related offenses. The chart shows that counties’ strategies to respond to certain juvenile activities could have been affected as criminal penalties are lowered. The chart also describes a potential need for changes to existing services. Specifically, in 2007 the responsibility for housing nonserious and nonviolent juvenile offenders transferred from the State to counties. This change potentially affected counties assessment of existing services in response to increased responsibility from the State. The chart also describes changes to the areas of crime. Specifically, the chart notes that the number of statewide juvenile arrests have significantly decreased from 192,000 in 2002 to 46,000 in 2018. This change could have resulted in counties reprioritizing areas in the community at risk of juvenile crime as the arrest rates decrease. Finally, the chart notes that counties have not significantly revised their comprehensive plans to reflect changes.
A table describing the number and significance of changes that counties made to their comprehensive plans between fiscal years 2002-03 and 2019-20.
Figure 2 describes the number of changes and the significance of the changes that Kern, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Joaquin, and Santa Barbara counties made to their comprehensive plans between fiscal years 2002-03 and 2019-20. The significance of changes are categorized as 1) no changes to the plan from the prior year, 2) some changes to the plan, including adding or removing a program, 3) significant changes to the plan, including a shift in the county’s strategy for addressing juvenile crime and delinquency, and 4) complete revision of plan, indicating that the county reevaluated its juvenile justice system and revised its entire comprehensive plan. The figure shows that counties made no changes to most of the 18 plans that we reviewed for each county. The counties occasionally made some changes to the plan, with Los Angeles making some changes in eight of the 18 plans that we reviewed and the other counties making less frequent changes. Only Kern and Santa Barbara made significant changes to their plans two and four times, respectively. Finally, only Los Angeles and Santa Barbara completely revised their comprehensive plans once each in the eighteen years we reviewed.
In Fiscal Year 2017-18, Most Counties We Reviewed Spent the Majority of JJCPA Funds on Programs Their Probation Departments Operated
Figure 3 is a bar chart that shows the percentage of total JJCPA expenditures Kern, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Joaquin, and Santa Barbara’s spent on programs operated by the probation department, other law enforcement agencies, non-law enforcement agencies, and CBOs during fiscal year 2017-18. The figure shows that most counties spent a majority of JJCPA funds on programs their probation departments operated—ranging from roughly 45 percent to 100 percent. San Joaquin and Santa Barbara each spent some JJCPA funds on programs operated by CBOs and Santa Barbara also spent on programs operated by non-law enforcement agencies. Los Angeles spent roughly 45 percent on probation department expenses, 24 percent on non-law enforcement agencies, 6 percent on other law enforcement agencies, and 25 percent on CBO expenses.
The State Provides Counties With Both Base and Growth JJCPA Funding
Figure 4 shows that state law directs certain revenues from motor vehicle license fees that the State collects, ensuring that $490 million is designated for local law enforcement activities. 22 percent of the designated $490 million—$107 million—is allocated to counties annually for the JJCPA as base funding. Any amount over $490 million is sent to a separate growth account. The graphic shows that 27 percent of this growth account is allocated to counties for the JJCPA as growth funding.
Growth Funding Increased Significantly From Fiscal Years 2014-15 Through 2019-20 (Dollars in Millions)
Figure 5 shows the total amount of JJCPA base and growth funding allocated to counties from fiscal years 2014-15 through 2019-20. The bar chart shows that the amount of base funding has remained constant at $107 million each fiscal year, while the amount of growth funding has significantly increased from $7 million in fiscal year 2014-15 to $60 million dollars in fiscal year 2019-20. However, the increases in growth funding has not been steady increasing from $7 million in fiscal year 2014-15 to $16 million in fiscal year 2015-16, then increasing from $52 million in fiscal year 2018-19 to $60 million in fiscal year 2019-20. The chart notes that if there are no changes to state law governing JJCPA allocations, the state will allocation $107 million in base funding to counties in fiscal year 2019-20.
Counties Have Not Spent All of the JJCPA Funds They Received From Fiscal Years 2013-14 and 2017-18
Figure 6 is a bar chart showing the percentage and dollar amount that Kern, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Joaquin, and Santa Barbara did not spend from fiscal years 2013-14 through 2017-18. Specifically, Kern did not spend 11 percent or $1.6 million, Los Angeles did not spend 14 percent or $24.6 million, Mendocino did not spend 12 percent or $173,000, San Joaquin did not spend 14 percent or $1.7 million, and Santa Barbara did not spend 4 percent or $315,000 of the JJCPA funds received over the five fiscal years.