Legislative Analyst's Office
Analysis of the 2002-03 Budget Bill
The Department of the Youth Authority (CYA) operates 11 institutions (including two reception centers) and six conservation camps throughout the state. As of mid-January, the system housed almost 6,200 wards. The budget includes the following proposals:
We withhold recommendation on $7.2 million (lease-payment bonds) for two projects, pending receipt and review of the department's mental health program study in order to verify facility and programmatic needs. Withhold recommendation on $7,171,000 under Items 5460-301-0660 (1) and (3).
The budget includes $3,933,000 of lease-payment bonds for construction of a new Correctional Treatment Center at the Northern California Youth Correctional Center and $3,238,000 of lease-payment bonds for construction to house new specialized counseling program beds at the Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center. Both of these projects would provide treatment, counseling, and staffing space for mental health services to wards.
The Legislature has acknowledged the need for the department to address these services. To act on specific proposals, however, the Legislature needs from the department an implementation plan for mental health service delivery which addresses such issues as:
At this time, the department is struggling with answers to these issues. In a January 2002 letter to the Legislature, the department requested a scope change on the Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center project because it had "reevaluated its program and staffing needs of the wards in treatment." While it is appropriate to engage in such a reassessment, the Legislature needs to have the benefit of the department's finding prior to consideration of facilities requests.
The department has commissioned an independent program study to identify ward mental health treatment needs and staffing. This study, however, will not be available until later this spring.
We believe the Legislature does not have the basic information it needs to assess the requests regarding these mental health facilities. Consequently, we withhold recommendation on the two projects, pending receipt and review of the department's study.