Board of Corrections (5430)

The state's Board of Corrections oversees the operations of the state's 460 local jails by establishing jail standards, inspecting facilities biennially, administering jail bond and federal construction funds, establishing staff training standards, and reimbursing local law enforcement agencies for the costs of training. In addition, the board maintains data on the state's jails. The board also sets standards for, and inspects, local juvenile detention facilities. The board is also responsible for the administration of juvenile justice grant programs.

The budget proposes expenditures of $80.5 million in 1998-99, including $34.1 million from the General Fund. This is about $30.2 million, or 60 percent, more than estimated current-year expenditures. The General Fund increase is due to implementation of law enforcement and juvenile justice local assistance grant programs. The budget also includes an additional $23.3 million in federal funds for distribution to local governments for construction and expansion of jails and juvenile detention facilities.

No Justification for Increase In Demonstration Project

We recommend deletion of $12.8 million requested from the General Fund for the Community Law Enforcement and Recovery Demonstration Project in Los Angeles because the administration has not justified the augmentation above the funding level provided in the legislation which created the demonstration project. Furthermore, Los Angeles local law enforcement agencies have received federal and state funds that can be used for expansion of the program. (Reduce Item 5430-102-0001 by $12.8 million.)

The budget requests $14 million from the General Fund for the second-year funding of the Community Law Enforcement and Recovery (CLEAR) Demonstration Project in Los Angeles. The CLEAR project was established by Chapter 506, Statutes of 1997 (AB 853, Hertzberg) as a two-year demonstration project to allow the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County to attack criminal gang activities. The CLEAR project is designed to draw upon resources from various law enforcement agencies to share gang intelligence and develop coordinated responses to gang problem areas. After two years, Chapter 506 requires an independent evaluation of the impact of the program on homicides, violent crime, and other gang activities in the targeted areas.

Chapter 506 appropriated $1.2 million from the General Fund for the demonstration project. Monies could be used for law enforcement officer salaries or overtime, equipment, and training. The funds were specifically allocated to five agencies and for the establishment of a gang intervention coordinator position. The Board of Corrections is the state agency responsible for disbursing project monies. Figure 22 shows the distribution of the funds.
Figure 22
CLEAR Demonstration Project

1997-98 Funding

(In Thousands)
Los Angeles Agency Amount
Los Angeles County Sheriff $300
Los Angeles City Police Department 248
Los Angeles County District Attorney 169
Los Angeles County Probation Department 142
Los Angeles City Attorney 141
Gang Intervention Coordinator 200
Total $1,200

The budget requests second-year funding of $14 million, almost twelve times the amount appropriated in Chapter 506.

Analyst's Concerns. In our view, demonstration projects should not be expanded without specific justification and a plan for the use of the funds. In addition, whenever a substantial increase in funding is requested for a new program, we believe that it is important for the Legislature to have information as to how funds previously provided have been used. We believe that this proposal fails on both counts.

First, the administration has provided no justification for the significant increase requested for the program. In addition, the administration has not specified how any of the $14 million would be distributed among the local agencies specified in Chapter 506 nor has the administration provided any information on specifically how the funds will be spent.

Second, the Board of Corrections was able to provide only minimal information about how the funds provided in Chapter 506 are being used. According to the board, the only information available comes from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office, which indicates that the office has used its allocations to hire two gang homicide investigators and two deputies. The Legislature has no other information about the use of the money by the other law enforcement agencies.

For these reasons, we recommend that the requested increase be denied

Los Angeles Law Enforcement Agencies Have Other Funding Sources Available. It should be noted that Los Angeles law enforcement agencies have recently received substantial increases in federal and state funding that could be used to support the CLEAR project, if that is a priority of the agencies. Specifically, in 1997, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office received $3.7 million and the Los Angeles Police Department received $17.7 million from the federal Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program. The grant to the police department was one of the largest in the nation. Both of these agencies will receive approximately the same amounts in 1998. The federal grant allows funds to be used for programs like the CLEAR project.

In addition to federal grant funds, the city and county have received funding under the state's Citizens' Option for Public Safety (COPS) program. In the current year, the sheriff's office received $2.3 million, the police department received $8.5 million, and the district attorney received $3.6 million from this program. The budget proposes continued funding for the COPS program and each of these agencies should receive about the same amount of funding in 1998-99. These funds can also be used for the CLEAR project. Consequently, if these Los Angeles law enforcement agencies see this project as worthy of additional funding they could use the additional federal and state funds to support the project.

Conclusion. We recommend that the requested augmentation for the program be denied because of the lack of justification for the increase and the lack of information about the use of the current-year funds. The law enforcement agencies involved have access to other state and federal funding sources that they could use to expand this project. This recommendation will leave the program with second-year funding for the two- year program that is equivalent to the amount appropriated by the Legislature in Chapter 506. (Reduce Item 5430-102-0001 by $12.8 million.)

Department of the Youth Authority (5460)

The Department of the Youth Authority is responsible for the protection of society from the criminal and delinquent behavior of young people (generally ages 12 to 24, average age 19). The department operates training and treatment programs that seek to educate, correct, and rehabilitate youthful offenders rather than punish them. The department operates 11 institutions, including two reception centers/clinics, and six conservation camps. In addition, the department supervises parolees through 16 offices located throughout the state.

The budget proposes total expenditures of $380 million for the Youth Authority in 1998-99. This is $15.9 million, or about 4 percent, less than current-year expenditures. General Fund expenditures are proposed to total $312 million in the budget year, a decrease of $16.2 million, or 4.9 percent, below expenditures in 1997-98. The department's proposed General Fund expenditures include $41.7 million in Proposition 98 educational funds.

The primary reason for the decrease in General Fund spending for the budget year is the decline in ward and parolee populations. In addition, the introduction of fee increases to counties are reflected as reimbursements and are included in the budget. The Youth Authority estimates that it will receive about $63 million in reimbursements in 1998-99.

Approximately 74 percent of the total funds requested for the department is for operation of the department's institutions and camps and 12 percent is for parole and community services. The remaining 14 percent of total funds is for the Youth Authority's education program.

Ward Population Continues to Decline

The number of wards at the Youth Authority decreased significantly in the current year and is projected to continue to decrease over the next several years until June 2001, when it is projected to increase slightly. The population decrease between 1996-97 and the budget year is the result of legislation transferring some offenders from the Youth Authority to the Department of Corrections and the introduction of new and higher fees charged to counties for Youth Authority commitments. The Youth Authority parole populations are expected to decline in the budget year and continue to decrease through 2002. The decline is due to fewer Youth Authority admissions and longer lengths of stay for those wards who are currently incarcerated.

Ward and Parole Trend. The Youth Authority's September 1997 ward population projections (which form the basis for the 1998-99 Governor's Budget) estimate that the number of wards and inmates housed in the Youth Authority will decrease by 830 (or 9 percent) by the end of 1998-99, compared to 1997-98. This decline in population is the result of the implementation of Chapter 195, Statutes of 1996 (AB 3369, Bordonaro), which transferred Department of Corrections' (CDC) inmates, housed at the Youth Authority, back to CDC. In addition, Chapter 6, Statutes of 1996 (SB 681, Hurtt) increased the fees that counties pay the state for placement of juvenile offenders in the Youth Authority. In response to these fees, which went into effect January 1, 1997, counties have reduced their Youth Authority commitments (we discuss the effect of this legislation below).

For the budget year through 2001-02, the Youth Authority projects that its population will decline and then grow slightly, reaching just over 8,500 incarcerated wards on June 30, 2002. These estimates, however, do not assume the full effect of the increased fees charged to counties for juvenile offenders they send to the Youth Authority. Based on experience to date, the effect of the fees is likely to reduce the ward population.

The Youth Authority also projects a significant decline in the number of parolees it supervises. It expects that parole populations will decline by 660 cases, almost 12 percent, in the budget year. The number of parolees will continue to decline through 2002. Figure 23 (see next page) shows the Youth Authority's institutional and parolee populations from 1996-97 through 2001-02.

Who Is in the Youth Authority? There are several ways that an individual can be committed to the Youth Authority's institution and camp population, including:

"M Cases" Transfers Significantly Reduced Youth Authority Population. "M cases" are offenders under the age of 18 when they were committed to CDC after a felony conviction in criminal court. Prior to July 22, 1996, these inmates could have remained in the Youth Authority until they reached the age of 25. Chapter 195 restricts future "M cases" to only those CDC inmates who are under the age of 18 at the time of sentencing. The new law requires that "M cases" be transferred to CDC at age 18, unless their earliest possible release date comes before their 21st birthday.

Implementation of Chapter 195 had a significant impact on the Youth Authority's institutional population and will affect the population for some time. Specifically, the new law has resulted in more than 1,200 inmates, over 12 percent of the Youth Authority's institutional population, being transferred to state prison. In addition, the Youth Authority assumes that the new legislation will result in an average of 500 fewer new admissions annually between 1997-98 and 2000-01 compared to projections made prior to the enactment of Chapter 195. As a consequence of the provisions of Chapter 195, the "M case" population will drop from a total of 1,471 at the end of 1995-96, to about 230 inmates at the end of 2001-02, a drop of more than 84 percent. Similar reductions will be seen in the Youth Authority parole caseloads of "M cases," which will decline from 872 at the end of 1996-97, to no cases in the budget year.

Characteristics of the Youth Authority Wards. Wards in Youth Authority institutions are predominately male, 19 years old on average, and come primarily from southern California, with 34 percent coming from Los Angeles County. Hispanics make up the largest racial and ethnic group in Youth Authority institutions, accounting for 48 percent of the total population. African Americans make up almost 30 percent of the population, whites are 15 percent, and Asians and others are approximately 7 percent.

Most Wards Committed for Violent Offenses. Figure 24 (see next page) shows the Youth Authority population by type of offense.

On December 31, 1997, 69 percent of the wards housed in Youth Authority institutions were committed for a violent offense, such as homicide, robbery, assault, and various sex offenses. We believe that the percentage of wards that are incarcerated for violent offenses will probably increase in future years because counties are charged fees when they commit less serious offenders to the Youth Authority. In contrast, only 42 percent of CDC's population has been incarcerated for violent offenses. The number of wards incarcerated for property offenses, such as burglary and auto theft, was 22 percent of the total population. The number of wards incarcerated for drug offenses was just under 5 percent in 1997.

Average Period of Incarceration Is Increasing. Wards committed to the Youth Authority for violent offenses serve longer periods of incarceration than offenders committed for property or drug offenses. Because of the increase in violent offender commitments, the average length of stay for a ward in an institution will increase. For example, the Youth Authority estimates that the average time until parole consideration for all wards is about 28 months for new admissions in 1997-98, compared to about 18 months in 1989-90. This trend is expected to continue; the Youth Authority projects that the length of stay for new admissions in 2001-02 will be almost 31 months, a 10 percent increase.

The longer lengths of stay are explained in part by the fact that wards committed by the juvenile courts serve "indeterminate" periods of incarceration, rather than a specified period of incarceration. Wards receive a parole consideration date when they are first admitted to the Youth Authority, based on their commitment offense. Time can be added or reduced by the Youthful Offender Parole Board, based on the ward's behavior and whether the ward has completed rehabilitation programs. In contrast, juveniles and most adults sentenced in criminal court serve "determinate" sentences--generally a fixed number of years--that can be reduced by "work" credits and time served prior to sentencing.

As the Youth Authority population changes, so that the number of wards committed for violent offenses makes up a larger share of the total population, the length of stay will become a significant factor in calculating population growth.

Ward and Parolee Population Projections Will Be Updated in May

We withhold recommendation on an $11 million decrease from the General Fund based on projected ward and parolee population changes, pending receipt and analysis of the revised budget proposal and population projections to be contained in the May Revision.

Ward and Parolee Population in the Budget Year. The Youth Authority population is projected to decrease by 830 wards, or  9 percent, by the end of the budget year. The budget proposes a decrease of $11 million reflecting this decrease in the Youth Authority population.

The department will submit a revised budget proposal as part of the May Revision that will reflect more current population projections. These revised projections could affect the department's request for funding. For example, as we note below, full implementation of new fees for Youth Authority commitments could result in both different types of wards committed from counties, and fewer commitments.

Furthermore, other factors may affect the Youth Authority population. For example, the Governor is proposing to increase the allocation of Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds from $174 million in the current year to $200 million in the budget year to provide services for juvenile offenders housed in county facilities. When counties received federal funds for service programs in prior years, admission rates to the Youth Authority decreased. Consequently, increasing the subvention of these funds to county probation departments may result in fewer juveniles being sent to the Youth Authority. (We discuss this issue below.)

Given these uncertainties, we withhold recommendation on the proposed $11 million decrease reflecting anticipated ward and parolee population changes, pending receipt and analysis of the revised budget proposal.

Fees Have Changed How Counties Use the Youth Authority

Effective January 1, 1997, counties were charged new and higher fees for certain commitments of juvenile offenders to the Youth Authority. Initial data for the first year show a significant decrease in new Youth Authority commitments, especially in those categories of wards for whom counties must pay higher fees. Whether this decline will continue is unknown. Consequently, we withhold recommendation on $43 million in fee reimbursements from the counties, pending receipt of the revised population estimates at the time of the May Revision.

Chapter 6 increased the fees that counties pay the state for placement of juvenile offenders in the Youth Authority. Specifically, Chapter 6 increased the existing monthly fees and established a new sliding fee. The new fees went into effect January 1, 1997. The introduction of these new fees appears to have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of youth committed by the counties to the Youth Authority. Specifically, county juvenile court commitments declined by 25 percent between 1996, the year before introduction of the fees, and 1997, the first year after enactment of the fees. In the long term, new fees will also impact Youth Authority parole services.

Increased Monthly Fees. Prior to the enactment of Chapter 6, counties paid the state $25 each month ($300 annually) for each offender sent to the Youth Authority. The $25 monthly fee was set in 1961, and had not been adjusted since then. Chapter 6 increased the fee to $150 per offender per month, or $1,800 annually per offender, to account for the effects of inflation since 1961. Although a significant increase, the new fee is still substantially below the Youth Authority's average annual cost of about $33,000 per offender. According to the Youth Authority, counties were billed $12.4 million for these fees, for all commitments from January through November 1997.

While overall Youth Authority commitments declined by 25 percent between 1996 and 1997, the decline in those categories where counties pay just the new monthly fee, as opposed to the "sliding scale fee," was 5 percent. The payment of the increased fees has resulted in a higher cost to counties, and has had a modest effect in reducing the number of these commitments to the Youth Authority.

"Sliding Scale Fee." When a ward is sent to the Youth Authority, the Youthful Offender Parole Board assigns the ward a category number--from 1 to 7--based on the seriousness of the commitment offense. Generally, wards in categories 1 through 4 are considered the most serious offenders, while categories 5 through 7 are less serious. Chapter 6 enacted a "sliding scale fee" for offenders sent by counties to the Youth Authority. In general, the fee was designed to provide incentives for counties to treat less serious offenders in local programs and, more importantly, invest in prevention and early intervention programs in order to reduce delinquency.

Under this legislation, counties pay 100 percent of the costs of wards in category 7 (the least serious offense category), 75 percent of the costs for wards in category 6, and 50 percent of the costs for wards in category 5. Counties pay the regular $150 per month fee for all other commitments.

Wards in categories 5, 6, and 7 generally spend less than 18 months in Youth Authority institutions. Similar types of offenders who are placed in county-operated facilities often spend less than six months in these facilities. For the period of January through November 1997, counties were billed $5 million for sliding scale commitments.

Commitment data suggest that the new sliding fees have had the desired impacts. The 1997 commitments of wards who are in categories 5, 6, and 7 declined almost 40 percent when compared to 1996. Commitments of category 7 wards, for whom counties paid full cost, decreased by 52 percent. There were only 26 commitments in this category to the Youth Authority in 1997.

We believe that as a result of the new sliding fee, counties will continue to have a fiscal incentive to use less costly local options rather than the Youth Authority, especially for the least serious offenders, where the county would pay most of the cost of commitment. Several counties have informed us that in response to the new fees they have developed local alternatives to Youth Authority placements. These new placement options include the creation of new ranch and camp beds and the use of other nonresidential options, such as day-treatment centers, for less serious offenders. As we describe below, counties have received significant new federal funds for creating services for these types of offenders. The budget proposes to further increase these funds.

Reimbursements Could Be Overstated. If counties continue to send fewer offenders, especially the less serious offenders, to the Youth Authority, the department's populations will decline more than projected. This would result in the amount of reimbursements from counties being less than what the Youth Authority projects. As a consequence, we withhold recommendation on the Youth Authority's proposed $43 million in reimbursements, pending receipt and review of the Youth Authority's revised population estimates at the time of the May Revision.

TANF Funds Increasing For Probation Departments

In the current year, counties received $174 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds for probation services for juvenile offenders. This will increase to $200 million in the budget year as a result of an additional $26 million in TANF funds. These funds appear to offset any increased county costs of new fees and allow for the creation of appropriate placements for offenders that previously would have been sent to the Youth Authority.

Background. Most county probation departments can place juvenile offenders in local juvenile halls, usually for short stays, or in county ranches and camps, usually for stays of four to six months. County probation departments also use a variety of other placement options. For example, juvenile offenders can be placed in foster care or group homes, or in nonresidential placements, such as day treatment centers. Probationers placed in these settings must report at a certain hour--usually in the early morning--and stay at the center until the evening. While at the center, the probationers receive schooling, counseling, and other services.

Federal Funds for Local Juvenile Offenders. In 1993, Los Angeles County, on behalf of California counties with ranches and camps, sought federal funding for juveniles who receive services in juvenile halls, ranches, and camps. Subsequently, the federal government approved federal Title IV-A (emergency assistance) funding on an interim basis for such services for juveniles. All 58 counties were authorized to receive a share of Title IV-A funding for these juveniles. In September 1995, however, the federal government notified the state that juvenile offenders would no longer be eligible for these federal funds.

In August 1996, Congress enacted federal welfare reform which established a federal block grant for providing financial assistance to needy children and their parents. Under the block grant, the state can use a portion of these funds for juvenile probationers.

In response to federal welfare reform, the California Legislature established the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program in 1997. The CalWORKS law specifically provided that TANF funds could be used to provide probation services to juvenile offenders. In the current year, counties received $141 million in TANF block grant funds for juvenile offenders under the care of probation departments. In addition, counties with ranches and camps received an additional $33 million in TANF funds for support of these juvenile facilities. Consequently, a total of $174 million in TANF was allocated to county probation departments.

Increasing TANF Aid to County Juvenile Detention Facilities. The budget includes an augmentation of TANF funds for county probation departments to address increased caseload. Specifically, the budget proposes $167 million, an increase of $26 million, or 18 percent, above the current-year amount. The budget also continues the $33 million from TANF for counties with juvenile ranches and camps. As a result, the budget proposes allocating $200 million from TANF to county probation departments to provide services to juvenile offenders.

Impact of Federal Funds on Local Placements. There is no statewide data available on how county probation departments have used the TANF monies in the current year. However, some county probation departments have reported that they have increased programming for juvenile offenders at the local level, thus allowing them to avoid Youth Authority commitments. Other counties report that some of the new TANF funds have been substituted for existing county discretionary funds spent on probation services and therefore have not resulted in increased probation funding.

As a result of the TANF funds, counties have a source of funds to either defray whatever costs they might incur as a consequence of the new Youth Authority fees or develop alternatives to Youth Authority placements. Furthermore, the significant amount of funding available under the TANF probation grants should allow counties to continue to decrease there reliance on placements in the Youth Authority and accordingly, reduce future sliding scale fee costs. Notwithstanding the overall decrease in Youth Authority placements, the allocation of $200 million to counties for juvenile offenders is substantially more than the estimated $43 million that counties will reimburse the state for Youth Authority placements.

As Parole Populations Decrease, How Will the Youth Authority Supervise Wards in the Community?

We recommend that the Legislature adopt supplemental report language directing the Youth Authority to report on how it will address projected declines in the parole populations, including an assessment of alternative models for providing parole services.

The Youth Authority parole population is projected to decrease by 14 percent through 2001-02. The decrease is the result of a variety of reasons. Fewer commitments and the elimination of Youth Authority parole supervision of CDC inmates--resulting from the "M case" transfers--will cause part of the decrease in parole populations. In addition, due to the implementation of sliding scale fees, there has been almost a 40 percent drop in commitments of less serious offenders (categories 5, 6, and 7). As a consequence, there will be fewer parolees released into the community for parole supervision in the near future.

The Youth Authority budgets for parole services and agents based on parole populations. The caseload ratios for determining the number of parole agents, and parole offices and services, are generally based on the number of wards paroled. The anticipated decrease in the number of parolees will result in a significant reduction in the number of parole agents and might also require closing parole offices. Although there may be fewer parolees in the future, they will still continue to be geographically dispersed throughout the state.

New Models Should Be Considered. Declining parole caseloads raise questions about the number of parole agents and parole offices that will be needed in the future. Typically, as caseloads decline, the department would have to reduce the number of agents and possibly close or consolidate some offices. This could have a negative impact as parole agents will have to cover a larger geographic area and spend less time supervising parolees. This could both reduce public safety and the chances of parolees' success in the community.

We believe that these caseload reductions may require the department to deliver parole services differently than it does under its existing model. For example, if the Youth Authority needs to reduce staff, but also needs to ensure that geographically dispersed parolees are properly supervised, it might consider developing cooperative arrangements with either CDC parole or county probation departments. Such arrangements would recognize that the majority of Youth Authority parolees are adults when they leave the institutions and return to the community. For those that require supervision, but only need limited parole services, local law enforcement agencies or existing law enforcement task forces might be another alternative for parolee monitoring. For younger parolees or those that need specific services when they return to the community, such as sex offenders, gang members, or those with serious mental illness, the Youth Authority might consider developing purchase of service agreements with community-based organizations. Regardless of the model selected, it is important that the Youth Authority begin evaluating alternatives that take into account declining parole caseloads and also determine how best to protect the public.

Analyst's Recommendation. We recommend that the Legislature adopt supplemental report language directing the Youth Authority to report on how it will address the declining parole population in the next several years. The report should evaluate alternative models that are cost-effective in providing parole services and supervising parolees in the community. We recommend that the report be submitted by September 1, 1998 in order for its findings to be incorporated into the 1999-00 Governor's Budget. The following language is consistent with this recommendation.

The Department of the Youth Authority shall report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the Legislature's fiscal committees by September 1, 1998, on its plans to address the declining parole populations. The report shall include, but not be limited to: (1) an estimate of parolee populations through 2002-03, including information on the characteristics of the projected population, the geographic location of the population, and a description of what special services might be needed (such as services for mentally ill parolees); (2) its estimate of how the decline in population will result in reductions in the number of parole agents and whether the reductions will necessitate the consolidation or closure of parole offices; (3) a description of alternative cost-effective models for providing parole services; and (4) its plan for implementing new models, with its estimates of new resources, and the redirection of existing resources.

How Will the Youth Authority Rehabilitate Wards as Its Population Changes?

We recommend that the Youth Authority report, during budget hearings, on the results of its treatment needs assessment. This report on Youth Authority program needs is due March 1, 1998. The report will show what rehabilitative programs are needed as the Youth Authority population changes.

In last year's Analysis, we recommended that the Youth Authority update its Treatment Needs Assessment. In response to that recommendation, the Legislature adopted supplemental report language directing the Youth Authority to complete a needs assessment to determine what types of rehabilitation programs and services will be needed as its population changes. The report is due March 1, 1998. As indicated above, the composition of the Youth Authority's institutional population will likely change significantly in the next few years because of changes in the types of juveniles counties will send to the Youth Authority. It is likely that the population will be more violent, younger, and will have longer lengths of stay.

The new assessment will evaluate the needs for all of the Youth Authority's rehabilitation programs. With this data, the Youth Authority would be able to determine if certain programs, or combinations of programs, lead to successful parole outcomes. By measuring which programs yield the best results, the department can concentrate its limited resources more effectively.

The Youth Authority should be prepared to discuss the results of its needs assessment at budget hearings and make recommendations for improvements and evaluation of its rehabilitative programs at that time.

Continued Oversight Needed For Tattoo Removal Program

We recommend that the Legislature adopt budget bill language to limit the use of funds for tattoo removal because data on the costs and success of the program are limited.

Budget Proposal. The Youth Authority is requesting continuation of $109,000 from the General Fund for ward tattoo removals. Tattoos are used to show gang membership. Oftentimes, tattoos are placed on the hands, face, or visible areas of the neck. If a ward seeks to leave the gang "lifestyle," a tattoo often makes it difficult to find a job or reenter society.

The Legislature approved $100,000 for the current year for this program to provide tattoo removal for wards who meet specified criteria. In addition, the 1997-98 Budget Act and Chapter 907, Statutes of 1997 (SB 526, Hayden) provide for the use of Youth Authority laser tattoo removal equipment to be used by community organizations for tattoo removals of probationers.

Program Still Being Implemented. The Youth Authority is in the process of implementing this new program. The Youth Authority originally planned to contract with private dermatologists to provide tattoo removal services. However, because of security concerns related to transporting a number of wards into the community for these services, the Youth Authority requested bids for services to be provided at Youth Authority institutions. There were no bidders. Based on the lack of response, the Youth Authority purchased laser-removal equipment for three institutions and has contracted with dermatologists to perform these services. Both wards and probationers from communities near Youth Authority facilities have had tattoos removed in 1997.

Data on the tattoo removal program indicate that, between July 1, 1997 and December 31, 1997, 182 wards had received 230 treatments. Only 18 tattoos had been completely removed. The total costs for all of these treatments was $28,674.

Even if the Youth Authority continued to treat the same number of wards in the second half of the current year, it will not fully expend the $100,000 appropriation for this program. Furthermore, data from the first six months of the program shows that the average total cost per treatment was $158. The budget year request is based on an average cost of $200 per treatment.

Analyst's Recommendation. Since the Youth Authority has only limited data on the number of wards that will receive tattoo removals and because costs appear to be lower than expected, we recommend that the Legislature adopt the following budget bill language limiting the use of these funds.

Of the funds appropriated in this item, $109,000 is for voluntary tattoo removal. Any funds not used for this purpose shall revert to the General Fund.

Internal Affairs Positions Should Be Transferred to the Agency's Inspector General

We recommend that internal affairs activities of the Youth Authority and the Department of Corrections be consolidated in the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency (YACA). Consequently, we recommend that the Legislature deny the budget request for $274,000 from the General Fund to add four additional internal affairs investigators. These positions, along with existing internal affairs staff ($479,000 and three positions), should be transferred to YACA.

The budget requests $274,000 and four lieutenant positions for internal affairs investigations. The Youth Authority currently has three investigators, and the request would substantially expand the internal affairs component for the department. Recent events at various Youth Authority institutions indicate a need for increasing internal affairs investigation activities, for criminal investigations of allegations against staff, and to investigate criminal acts of wards. A recent evaluation of a Youth Authority internal affairs investigation by YACA's Inspector General identified many weaknesses in the current Youth Authority program.

While the requested increase in internal affairs positions may be justified on a workload basis, we are recommending denial of the Youth Authority request and instead recommend consolidation of internal affairs activities in the YACA Inspector General's Office. We believe that consolidation will result in more effective and consistent use of investigatory resources. Thus, we recommend that the Legislature deny the requested augmentation and instead place the new positions in the YACA budget. In addition, we recommend that $479,000 and three positions currently in the Youth Authority's base budget be transferred to YACA. (Please see YACA analysis earlier in this chapter.)

Youthful Offender Parole Board (5450)

The Youthful Offender Parole Board (YOPB) is the paroling authority for all juveniles committed by the juvenile court to the Department of the Youth Authority. The YOPB is composed of seven members appointed by the Governor.

A board member or a hearing officer, known as a board representative, reviews the Youth Authority program proposed for each ward as the ward enters custody. At this initial review, the board sets a parole consideration date based on the ward's commitment offense. Subsequent to the initial review, the board reviews the ward's progress annually, or if the ward commits an infraction in the institution. For certain infractions, the board may add time to the ward's date for parole consideration. The board determines when a ward will be paroled and decides whether parole violators will be returned to the Youth Authority.

The budget proposes total expenditures of $3.3 million from the General Fund for the YOPB in 1998-99. This is $12,000, or less than 1 percent, more than current-year expenditures. The increase is for the costs of implementing the new collective bargaining agreement.

Ward and Parolee Population Declines Should Result in Savings

We withhold recommendation on the board's $3.3 million budget pending receipt and analysis of the revised budget proposal and population projections to be contained in the May Revision.

The Youth Authority's ward and parole populations have decreased significantly in recent years and are projected to decrease even more by the end of the budget year. Specifically, the ward population has dropped from a high of 10,114 wards as of June 30, 1996 to 8,452 as of December 31, 1997, a decrease of 16 percent. The Youth Authority projects that the ward population will decrease further to 8,315 wards by June 30, 1999. The parole population for June 30, 1998 is projected to be 6,120, declining to 5,465 by June 30, 1999.

These reductions are principally the consequence of recent changes in law that (1) required certain offenders to be housed in state prison rather than the Youth Authority and (2) raised fees that counties pay to the state when placing offenders in the Youth Authority, thus providing incentives to counties to treat more youthful offenders locally.

Our review of the Youth Authority's population projections indicates that it may decline even beyond the department's estimates for both the current and budget years. For example, on January 7, 1998, the Youth Authority population was 8,419, however, the Youth Authority had projected that it would be 8,520 as of that date.

As the Youth Authority population decreases, the workload of the YOPB also will decline. For example, there would be less of a need for initial and annual reviews of wards and fewer wards would be paroled. However, the YOPB's 1998-99 budget request has not been adjusted downward to account for these decreases. Given the potential of continued decreases in Youth Authority populations, and the commensurate decline in YOPB workload, we withhold on the YOPB budget pending receipt and analysis of the revised ward and parole population projections to be submitted with the May Revision.


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