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February 23, 2006 - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s telemedicine program allows the department to deliver health care services to inmates without transporting them to outside medical facilities. Our review finds that opportunities exist for the department to significantly expand its use of telemedicine, thereby improving public safety and reducing the cost of providing inmate health care. We recommend legislation be enacted that requires the department to take steps to expand the use of telemedicine in prisons, which would potentially reduce transportation and medical guarding costs by several million dollars.
February 23, 2006 - Some county jails utilize non-peace officer personnel (“custody assistants”) for custody-related tasks that do not require direct control of inmates. Instead of using such “custody assistants,” state prisons rely on correctional officers for all custody-related work. The creation and use of a custody assistant classification in state prisons would reduce state costs and improve efficiency, while reducing staff vacancies in state prisons.
February 23, 2006 - The Governor’s budget includes funds to develop and expand a number of prison inmate and parole programs designed to reduce recidivism. While some aspects of this proposal have merit, many aspects lack important staffing and implementation details, and it is questionable that the department will be able to successfully implement so many programs at one time. We identify steps that the state should take to improve programming in state prisons, and recommend a reduction of approximately $28 million pending receipt and review of additional information.
February 23, 2006 - The Governor’s budget proposes to expand the use of formula-based budgeting to the entire Judicial Branch. However, the proposal lacks a clear policy rationale and would likely lead to over budgeting of the courts. We recommend rejection of this proposal.
February 23, 2006 - Proposition 36 provided annual appropriations from the General Fund through 2005-06 to implement a voter-approved initiative requiring drug treatment instead of incarceration in prison or jail for certain nonviolent drug possession offenders. The guaranteed appropriations for Proposition 36 are expiring, giving the Legislature discretion now to determine the level of funding for this measure. We comment on how the funding level should be set and proposals for making policy changes in the Proposition 36 law.
February 22, 2006 - The Governor’s budget contains proposals for increased spending of $61 million ($54 million General Fund) in the budget year related to the state’s emergency preparedness and response—primarily for public health and agricultural emergencies. While some of the proposals are warranted, most of the proposals suffer from one or more deficiencies—such as the failure to maximize funds other than the General Fund, poorly designed solutions, and the failure to follow state information technology policy. Consequently, we recommend the Legislature reject many of the administration’s proposals. We also offer a number of key considerations for the Legislature as it evaluates the state’s emergency preparedness. Finally, we comment on recent federal funding changes, reducing risks through land use decisions, and the creation of separate homeland security and public health departments.
February 14, 2006 - We review infrastructure proposals in the Strategic Growth Initiative related to public safety. Presented to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
October 20, 2005 - In this piece, we summarize key provisions of Three Strikes and You’re Out; discuss the evolution of the law in the courts; estimate the impact of the law on state and local criminal justice systems; and evaluate to what extent the law achieved its original goals.
March 1, 2005 - Presented to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on February 28, 2005.
February 24, 2005 - The state lacks a unified strategic approach to homeland security. The Office of Homeland Security and the Department of Health Services have not sufficiently coordinated their efforts. We make a number of recommendations to address these problems, including the development of a strategic plan and annual expenditure report.
February 24, 2005 - The Governor’s budget includes funds for implementation of Proposition 69—DNA Collection—by the Departments of Justice, Corrections, and Youth Authority. While these departments will require funding to collect and process tens of thousands of additional DNA samples in 2005-06, our analysis indicates that the requests for Corrections and Youth Authority are overbudgeted by $3.5 million.
February 24, 2005 - The Foreign Prisoner Treaty Transfer program has the potential to reduce state incarceration costs by transferring inmates to their country of origin. Because of administrative issues, the state does not obtain the maximum benefit that could be achieved from this program. We offer recommendations for increasing the program’s use and state savings.
February 24, 2005 - In September 2004, a federal court issued an order requiring further improvements in CDC’s inmate health care delivery system. We believe the Governor’s budget year proposal is consistent with the court order. However, the state continues to face significant challenges in providing better access to quality health care for inmates, including attracting qualified health professionals to work in the prison system, and implementing a health information system that enables the department to oversee the delivery of health care. We recommend a number of modifications to the Governor’s budget proposal that would result in state General Fund savings.
February 24, 2005 - As a means of controlling prison violence, CDC has established several “disciplinary confinement” options, including administrative segregation and special housing units. Despite increasing use of such options, data show inmate assaults (and the associated state costs) continue to increase. Our examination identifies a number of shortcomings in the department’s disciplinary confinement policies and practices, and offers recommendations for improvement.