March 1, 2017 - In this web post, we provide an overview of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the level of funding proposed for the department in the Governor's 2017-18 budget. We also assess and make recommendations on various CDCR budget proposals, including a $12.6 million proposed augmentation related to changes in the adult inmate and parolee populations. In addition, we assess and provide recommendations on three proposals related to inmate mental health care: a $250 million shift of inpatient psychiatric programs from the Department of State Hospitals to CDCR, an $11.4 million proposal to convert 74 existing outpatient mental health beds into inpatient psychiatric program beds, and a $112 million proposal to construct 100 additional Mental Health Crisis Beds. Finally, we assess and provide recommendations on five other CDCR proposals: an $11.7 million proposal to install video surveillance cameras, the delayed activation of an infill facility, a proposal to reduce the department’s budget by $8.3 million to reflect housing unit conversions and the reallocation of health care access staff, a $299,000 proposal to modify a fence at a minimum support facility, and proposed budget trailer legislation related to California Prison Industry Authority employee retiree health benefits.
February 14, 2018 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize our major findings and recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.
February 22, 2016 - In this report, we provide an analysis of the Governor's budget proposals for state criminal justice departments and programs, including for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the judicial branch, the Department of Justice, and various local public safety programs. We review the most significant proposals in these areas and offer corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration.
March 16, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on Corrections, Public Safety, and the Judiciary
February 23, 2012 - In 2011, the state enacted several bills to realign to county governments the responsibility for certain felon offenders who previously had been eligible for state prison and parole. These changes will significantly reduce the inmate and parole populations managed by CDCR. This report identifies the impacts of the realignment of adult offenders on CDCR's operations and facility needs, discusses whether realignment will enable the state to meet the prison population limit required by the federal court, as well as whether the change in the makeup of CDCR's inmate population following realignment will affect its housing, mental health, and medical facility needs. The report provides recommendations on how to better match CDCR facilities and programs with the remaining inmate population following the realignment.
May 16, 2012 - In April 2012, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released a report (referred to as the “blueprint”) on the administration’s plan to reorganize various aspects of CDCR operations, facilities, and budgets in response to the effects of the 2011 realignment of adult offenders, as well as to meet various federal court requirements (such as reducing the inmate population to meet specified population cap targets). In this brief we (1) summarize and assess the major aspects of the blueprint and (2) present alternative approaches that are available to the Legislature. In our view, much of the administration’s blueprint merits legislative consideration. However, the General Fund costs of the planned approach—in particular, an estimated $78 million in annual debt service—is a significant tradeoff. We find that the state could meet its facility requirements (including those for medical and mental health treatment) and specified population cap targets at much lower ongoing General Fund costs than proposed by the administration, potentially saving the state as much as a billion dollars over the next seven years.
February 19, 2014 - In the report we provide an analysis of the Governor's budget proposals for state criminal justice programs, including the judicial branch, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and various proposals related to local public safety. The report reviews the most significant proposals in these departments and offers corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration. For example, we recommend that the Legislature take several actions to improve the administration’s approach to trial court funding, including the current trial court reserves policy. In addition, we review the administration’s proposals related to correctional relief staffing and overtime and make a series of recommendations to reduce spending on staffing and overtime and make CDCR's staffing process more cost-efficient.
February 22, 2017 - In this web post, we provide an overview of the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) and the level of funding proposed for the department in the Governor’s 2017-18 budget. We also assess and make recommendations on four specific DSH budget proposals: (1) a $250 million shift in inpatient psychiatric programs from DSH to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, (2) a $10.5 million proposal to activate 60 beds for Incompetent to Stand Trial patients in the Kern County Jail, (3) an $ 8 million dollar funding increase to staff units designed specifically for violent patients, and (4) a $6.2 million General Fund loan for DSH-Napa earthquake repairs.
February 28, 2014 - In this report, we provide an analysis of the Governor's proposals to comply with the federal court order to reduce the state's prison population. Specifically, we review the administration's plans to comply with the population cap by (1) contracting for additional prison bed space, (2) utilizing funding from the Recidivism Reduction Fund to support initiatives intended to reduce the prison population (such as expanding rehabilitative services), and (3) implementing court-ordered population reduction measures. We recommend a variety of modifications to the Governor’s proposals. In particular, we recommend using a portion of the monies in the Recidivism Reduction Fund to evaluate the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's current rehabilitative programs and to expand an existing grant program that incentivizes counties to reduce prison admissions.
December 6, 2017 - In this report, we (1) provide background information on the state’s in-prison rehabilitation programs (including their intended goals), (2) outline key program principles for maximizing reductions in recidivism, (3) identify key shortcomings in the state’s rehabilitation programs, and (4) make recommendations to improve how the state provides in-prison rehabilitation programs.
August 5, 2011 - On May 23, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a lawsuit against the state involving prison overcrowding. Specifically, the court upheld the ruling of a federal three–judge panel requiring the state to reduce overcrowding in its prisons to 137.5 percent of its “design capacity” within two years. The court’s decision will almost certainly result in some of the most dramatic changes to the state’s prison system in decades. The realignment plan that the Legislature recently enacted could go a long way toward meeting the court’s requirements. Our analysis, however, indicates that the realignment plan alone is unlikely to reduce overcrowding sufficiently within the two–year deadline set by the court. This indicates to us that, as the U.S. Supreme Court suggested, a somewhat longer timeframe is warranted. In addition, we recommend that the Legislature consider how the overcrowding reduction will affect the types of prison facilities California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has planned to build. Finally, we recommend that the Legislature provide CDCR with more flexibility to use contract beds in order to manage overcrowding, particularly in the near term. Addressing these issues would help to better plan for a dramatically reduced state inmate population within the state’s current fiscal situation.
February 20, 2008 - Presented to the Senate Public Safety Committee
September 4, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee