Prop 47 Funding in California

By Anesti Vega

February 14, 2017

Thanks to the voter approval of Prop 47 back in 2014, California is now poised to grant an estimated $103.7 million in funding for community programs that support mental health, drug treatment, and rehabilitation for people reentering from the justice system.

Following Prop 47’s implementation, there was a 67 percent statewide drop in felony drug arrests. This was driven by reclassification of certain drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors. In 2015, the first full year after Prop 47 was implemented, felony drug arrests fell by over 92,000 while misdemeanor drug arrests increased by only 70,000. Taken together, these shifts produced a 10 percent decline in total drug arrests.

As stated in the proposition, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act seeks to maximizes alternatives for nonserious, nonviolent crime, and to invest the savings generated from this act into prevention and support programs in K–12 schools, victim services, and mental health and drug treatment.  For this round of funding, the savings that will be invested totals $103.7 million.

Under Prop 47, public agencies – defined as county, city, or Tribal government departments – must be the lead applicants to apply for funding generated from savings, but they are required to share a minimum of 50 percent of awarded funding with a nonprofit partner. These grants will strengthen and increase community-based support for people struggling with the issues that incarceration has failed to address, such as re-entry and accessing needed services.

If you are a California nonprofit interested in this funding opportunity, contact your city council, county board of supervisors, or Tribal government agency to see if they have or are planning to apply for Prop 47 funding by the deadline of February 21st 2017. You may also want to reach out to public agencies, such as human services or public health departments, and express your interest in partnering. Some key elements of the application include:

  • Public agencies must partner with one or more nonprofit organizations, and nonprofits and may serve as a partner on more than one program proposal.
  • All nonprofits that receive Prop 47 grants through a public agency must have a proven track record of working with the target population and be able to collect data and evaluate their program.
  • Proposals that include services provided inside of county jails (with the exception of outreach and reentry planning) are not eligible for funding.
  • In addition to mental health services, substance use disorder treatment, diversion programs, or some combination, applicants are encouraged to provide housing or other supportive services, such as job skills training, case management, and civil legal services. (See diagram below).
  • Grants for these projects are divided into small scope and large scope. Small scope projects may apply for up to $1 million over a 38-month grant period, and large scope projects may apply for up to $6 million over the grant period. The entirety of Los Angeles County may apply for $20 million over the 38-month grant period.

To find out more about how to apply and how to get involved please contact Erica Webster at ewebster[at]cjcj[dot]org. The Prop 47 application can be found online on the Board of State and Community Correction’s Prop 47 webpage along with answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), county data sets, and relevant contact information.