State of the Cities 2012
Interim report on the municipal criminal justice system
In 2011, city managers, administrators and city clerks were asked to participate in a survey about police, municipal court, public defense, prosecution and jail services in their communities. One hundred-fifty cities representing 66 percent of the state’s incorporated population participated in the survey.
Results show that many cities are struggling to deal with the recession and its lingering aftermath, and the particular strain it places on their criminal justice systems. Compounding the local problems, cities report they are experiencing greater service delivery responsibilities because of cuts made at other levels of government.
The state has traditionally been, and should continue to be a partner in local government efforts to provide safe communities. In order to continue providing services that are vital to health, safety and economic activity, cities need the following from the state: increased fiscal flexibility; greater autonomy to meet local needs, and renewed commitment to fostering a supportive, long-term funding partnership
Full report (pdf)
Municipal criminal justice by the numbers (pdf)
Fact sheet (pdf)
Survey results (pdf)
- 86 percent of Washington cities report that state budget cuts have reduced their criminal justice system capacity.
- 78 percent of all law and justice expenditures by Washington cities is for law enforcement.
- 87 percent of cities report that law enforcement is the area most in need of additional resources.
- 1 in 5 (20%) cities reports that their law enforcement department has stopped responding to certain categories of calls because of lack of resources.
- 1 in 5 (20%) cities report there is a category of calls their law enforcement department does not respond to because of a lack of resources or volume of workload.
- 73 percent of cities report they have eliminated special law enforcement units or programs in the last three years.
- 57 percent of cities report their municipal court costs have increased over the last three years.
- 1 in 4 (25%) cities says they are declining to prosecute some cases because they don’t have enough resources.
- 79 percent of cities report that the costs of providing jail services for their community have increased over the last three years. 1 in 5 said the costs are much higher.
- In 2010 it cost Washington’s cities $1.3 billion to provide law and justice services, including costs for judges, public defenders, prosecutors, jails and police functions. By comparison, general property tax revenues only generated $1.2 billion for cities.