County Boards of Supervisors, in conjunction with County Sheriffs, District Attorneys, Public Defenders, and Chief Probation Officers, are responsible for law enforcement, the operation of a variety of county public safety facilities (county jails and juvenile halls), and the overall administration of public safety services and community corrections.  The funds to provide these public safety programs and services are primarily met with county general fund monies.  However, the 2011 Criminal Justice Realignment scheme that supports the cost burden incurred from housing and supervising low-level felons is funded through a combination of constitutionally protected state sales tax proceeds and monies from state vehicle license fees.  In limited instances, county corrections programs can be funded by special grants from a variety of sources.

California’s rural counties have varying degrees of issues with respect to their local correctional facilities.  Some counties currently have “excess” jail capacity, and use those beds to contract with either state or federal corrections authorities, while others have facilities that are in dire need of rehabilitation, and/or face judicially-imposed caps on their inmate population.  The overwhelming majority of rural counties do not have adequate population or revenue streams to construct county jails without significant state assistance. 

RCRC has historically supported various state legislative proposals that support state lease revenue bond financing for the construction, reconstruction, and renovation/rehabilitation of local correctional facilities.  RCRC will continue to support state funding streams for county jails to address the recent realignment of criminal justice programs.  Additionally, RCRC will work closely with the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to implement jail construction funding programs, including efforts that provide dedicated funding for small counties, and flexibility to meet state match requirements.

Staff:   Staci Heaton and Sarah Dukett