Implementing AB 900's Prison Construction and Rehabilitation Initiatives
May 14, 2009
We examine the steps that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has taken to implement Chapter 7, Statutes of 2007 (AB 900, Solorio) which authorized a total of approximately $7.7 billion for a broad package of prison construction and rehabilitation initiatives in order to relieve the significant overcrowding problems facing state prisons. Based on our review, we identify several issues that merit legislative consideration. For example, we note that the department’s construction cost estimates for the infill bed projects reflect an almost quadrupling of costs since the last state prison was built about seven years ago. Moreover, we find that the cost to operate the infill bed and reentry facilities and pay the annual debt service for the lease-revenue bonds to construct these facilities will be significant. Based on the department’s estimates, when fully implemented, the infill bed and reentry facilities could increase General Fund costs by $1.3 billion annually.