California Governor Newsom’s Bad News Police Officers and Prisons System

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jul 10, 2024

California Governor Gavin Newsom is one of the most well-known political leaders in America. However, not everyone believes the governor is making the best decisions for the Golden State.

Most recently, the Democratic governor is facing significant backlash for his decision to make cuts to the law enforcement and prison budgets. Many worry that the decision will lead to increased crime across the state.

Governor Newsom Has Spent a Fortune

One of the major complaints about Governor Newsom is that he has been overspending since he took office in 2018.

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An up-close look at many American one-hundred dollar bills spread out.

Source: John Guccione/Pexels

In 2017, the California state deficit was only $1.6 billion, but now, six years into Newsom’s reign, the deficit sits at an almost unbelievable $68 billion for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

Governor Newsom Is Now Trying to Fix the Budget Problem

In response to this substantial deficit, the governor is now trying to find ways to curtail California’s spending, and the latest state budget proposal shows exactly where he plans to cut back.

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A photograph of California’s Governor Gavin Newsom looking disappointed

Source: @PBS NewsHour/YouTube

The budget proposal, which was released in May 2024, states that next year California will spend nearly $200 million less on public safety, including law enforcement and prisons than it did in 2024.

Where Exactly Will the Money Be Taken From?

Specifically, the budget outlines a $97 million cut to trial court operations, a $80 million deduction from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget, and $10 million less to the state’s Department of Justice Division of Law Enforcement.

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A man goes over his finances while counting coins

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And the vast majority of California residents are absolutely outraged by the decision.

America Wanted the Government to "Defund the Police"

What’s especially interesting about this upset is that, for several years, Americans around the nation have been begging their local governments to defund the police.

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A woman at a protest holds a sign that reads "Defund the Police"

Source: @WashingtonPost/YouTube

The argument has been that police departments are often oppressive, violent, and even racist. Therefore, millions believed that fewer police officers would mean a safer America, but that’s not exactly what happened.

Many Cities Did Defund the Police and It Backfired

The many protests and calls to defund the police over the past several years led to many cities actually cutting back on their law enforcement budgets. However, new data shows that those that did defund saw a significant uptick in crime.

Two police officers escort an arrested man in handcuffs to their patrol car

Source: iStock

A report published in September 2023 by advocacy group Our America showed that five cities, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Tuscon, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, all saw an increase in crime after decreasing the police budget.

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Crime Decreased in Oakland With Added Police Presence

Additionally, there is evidence to support the argument that increasing police funding and subsequent presence actually reduces crime.

Four police cars in a row with their lights on

Source: Photospirit/Canva

The city of Oakland, California, saw a significant increase in crime during and immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic. But since Governor Newsom sent an additional 120 officers to the city, increasing police presence by 900% crime has decreased by up to 33%. 

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Governor Newsom Claims He Is Not Defunding the Police

After the May budget proposal became public knowledge, controversy erupted in California and around the country. The majority of people who responded chastised Newsom for defunding the police are worried that the decision would increase crime throughout the state.

California Governor Gavin Newsom points to the crowd during a speech

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Newsom then announced that the budget was misinterpreted; he said “No police are being defunded,” and noted that he has actually increased the Department of Justice budget by 33% since taking office.

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True or False: California Is Defunding the Police

It’s important to note that while the numbers don’t lie and there will be a 1.6% decrease in the annual Department of Justice budget, the cutbacks are not going to affect the state’s police departments.

Sign on Department of Justice building

Source: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

One of Newsom’s spokespeople explained, “The CA DOJ doesn’t run a police force and this small proposed spending reduction is in line with what all state agencies would experience under the proposal. The reduction would be implemented at the CA DOJ’s discretion.”

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The California Corrections Budget Will Be Cut

Governor Newsom also wants Californians to understand that the significant cut to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget will in no way affect their daily lives or let convicted criminals out early.

Brown Wooden Box on a Striped Foam Mattress

Source: RDNE Stock project/Pexels

The spokesperson continued, “The reductions to prison spending will not impact public safety or result in the ‘release of inmates.’ Savings are being achieved by cutting costs, including the deactivation of beds.”

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Californians Are Afraid of Rising Crime Rates

Even with Gov. Newsom’s promise that the budget cuts will not affect police departments, Californians are quite scared of any decision that could increase crime rates. And that is because statewide crime is already dangerously high.

A man in a black sweatshirt using a crow bar to steal a car

Source: Freepik

California’s violent crime rate has increased by 5.7% since 2022, auto theft is now 31.6% higher than it was in 2019, aggravated assault crimes increased by 9.9% in 2023, and retail theft is through the roof.

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The Budget Is Set in Stone

Governor Newsom signed the finalized 2024-2025 California state budget on July 1, 2024. So even though people will continue to debate the decreased funding for the Department of Justice, there’s nothing they can do about it now.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is pictured speaking at a podium with the Seal of the Governor of California. He is dressed in a blue suit and tie, gesturing with his right hand. Flanking him on both sides are the United States flag and the California state flag

Source: CAgovernor/X

Hopefully, for both the Governor and the residents of California, Newsom’s decision will not increase crime in California. If it does, his constituents will certainly blame him and his defunding.

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