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Other Budget Issues

Last Updated: 1/25/2011
Budget Issue: Warm shutdown of the Northern California Reentry Facility (NCRF)
Program: Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Finding or Recommendation: Reduce the Governor's January 2011-12 budget proposal to place NCRF on warm shutdown by $475,000, because the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has not been able to justify the need for additional funding for operating expenses and equipment.
Further Detail

Background. In May 2007, the Legislature enacted Chapter 7, Statutes of 2007 (AB 900, Solorio), a measure intended to relieve the significant overcrowding problems facing state prisons. Among other changes, AB 900 authorized $2.6 billion in lease-revenue bonds to construct up to 16,000 beds at “secure reentry facilities”—with up to 500 beds each—for inmates within one year of being released from custody prior to parole. Pursuant to this measure, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) plans to convert the former Northern California Women’s Facility in Stockton to a reentry facility. This reentry facility, referred to as the Northern California Reentry Facility (NCRF), will include 500 beds, serve the counties of San Joaquin, Calaveras, and Amador, and cost about $115 million. In 2009-10, the department received an allocation from the lease-revenue bonds authorized in AB 900 to plan and support this conversion.

Governor Proposes to Place NCRF in “Warm Shutdown.” According to the administration, NCRF was scheduled to be activated in December 2012, but will be delayed due to the state's fiscal condition. Given this delay, the administration proposes to place NCRF in a warm shutdown mode--which requires certain positions and funding to maintain basic facility operations so they do not deteriorate while the building is unused. Specifically, the Governor's budget for 2011-12 proposes 5 positions and a $880,000 General Fund augmentation to place NCRF in a warm shutdown. This request is offset by a proposed reduction of 7 positions and $880,000 currently in CDCR’s base budget for personnel costs related to pre-activating NCRF. Therefore, the request has no net fiscal impact.

Recommendation. Of the $880,000 requested by CDCR to place NCRF in warm shutdown, about $475,000 is for operating expenses and equipment (OE&E). However, at the time of this analysis, CDCR has not been able to provide a full accounting of the level of OE&E funding currently in the base budget for NCRF and, thus, justify the $475,000 being requested in the budget for OE&E. As a result, we recommend that the Legislature reduce the Governor’s request by $475,000.