Last updateThu, 10 Nov 2016 6pm

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What is Cash for Convictions?

Cash for Convictions is an extremely negative consequence of an act that was meant to help victims of crime, prevent future crimes, and help rehabilitate criminals.  Both federal and state governments have utilized tax dollars to build grant programs to address these areas.  Unfortunately, the way many of these grants are designed, the original intention has been lost.

Many grants require an accounting of the number of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions as a way to show results.  Future funding in these grants are based on whether these numbers increase or at least hit a certain quota. When county and city budgets are being decreased because of the economy, the reliance on these grants has become even more crucial.

Overwhelmingly, most of the money from these grants pay for the salaries and benefits for prosecutors and investigators rather than programs for victims or rehabilitation.  In order for prosecutors and investigators to remain employed and/or get increases, arrests, prosecutions and convictions need to increase regardless if the crime rate does.  As a consequence of these well intentioned grants, we have found that some district attorneys prosecute any complaint no matter how trivial and often do very little investigating to see if the complaint is warranted.  This philosophy keeps arrest and prosecution numbers high for grant funding, makes the district attorney look tough on crime, and allows them to keep a large staff of prosecutors and investigators employed.

We have started this page so that taxpayers can be educated on how their money is being spent when it comes to grant funding. When money is rewarded like this, it allows injustices to happen.  We want you to contact your representatives to let them know that these grants can be adjusted so that we don’t reward recipients based on the numbers of arrests, prosecutions and convictions.  We want more accountability on how this money is spent to help victims of crime, prevent crimes and rehabilitate criminals.  

"Cash For Conviction" Program in DA's Office?

An investigative reporter, David Greenwald, for the DavisVanguard has uncovered that the Yolo County DA receives Federal Grant money for sexual assault cases. To maintain this grant the DA needs to show increased conviction rates. Click here to read the article.

Vanguard Investigation Finds Evidence of Exaggerated Crime Figures in DA Grant Applications

In 2010 one third of the Yolo County DA's budget came from grant sources. While this of itself does not appear bad, the problem is under the surface. A investigation by the Davis Vanguard of Yolo County revealed evidence a "cash for conviction" program in which the DA's Office had incentives to prosecute and over-prosecute cases in order to obtain grant money for those programs. The investigation also revealed evidence of exaggerated crime stats in those grant reports. Click here to read the full article.