Prison Overcrowding: California

Below is a summary of information including: statistics from California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, an overview of the state’s prison overcrowding dilemma, as well as helpful references and points of contact for those interested in resolving the problem.

Facts and Figures 2008-2009

CDCR Costs

  • Annual budget: $10.6 billion
  • Percentage of the state General Fund allocated
    in the 2009-2010 Budget Proposal to Corrections: 7.6%
  • Average annual cost per inmate: $49,000

CDCR Staff and Population

  • Total department active personnel: 63,050
    • Institutions: 53,069
    • Parole: 3,551
    • Administration: 6,430
  • Total incarcerated under CDCR jurisdiction: 154,561
  • Total number of facilities: 90
  • Escaped: 218
  • Average sentence: 49 months
  • Average time served: 24.9 months
  • Average age: 37 years

Organization of state divisions, view here.


  • Facilities: 21
  • Offices: 190
  • Population: 123,597
Overcrowding Quick Facts
  • In August, a three-judge federal court ruled that California must reduce its prison population by approximately 40,000 in two years
  • Due to an estimated $24 billion deficit, California’s corrections system has been singled out for drastic cuts, including the release of thousands of nonviolent offenders and reductions in parolee populations
  • California’s prison population is the largest in the country

Points of Contact

To Contact the CDCR Office of Legislation:

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Office of Legislation

P.O. Box 942883

Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 445-4737

Organization of CDCR Executive Staff, view here.

News and Media

  • A federal three-judge court rules on inmate overcrowding, read more.
  • ALEC reacts to the federal mandate on California, read more.
  • Chino prison targeted for the early release of parole violators, read more.
  • In Bakersfield, inmates convicted of rape and assault could be released in the absence of proper funding, read more.
  • ALEC member, Pat Nolan, responds to California’s costly prison overcrowding situation, read more.

Helpful Links

See also:

Prison Overcrowding Colorado