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:


CDCR’s share of pension and health costs is another $3 billion:


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:


At $15 billion, the 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.