by Ivette Alé
Governor Brown’s revised budget increases funding to the CDCR to an all-time high $11.8 billion (2018-19), up from $11.4 billion last year (2017-18). However, the budget also projects that the implementation of Prop. 57 will cause the adult prison population to decrease by 5,800 people in 2018-19 and 11,200 people in 2020-21. In spite of these much needed reductions in the state prison population, the Governor’s proposed budget increases spending on corrections. While a budget for increased accessibility, positive programming, and the opportunity to earn more credits towards early parole along with reentry services is necessary, there is still an urgent need to shift public safety spending to support more aggressive, retroactive parole and sentencing reform so that we can close prisons and invest our dollars in community based alternatives to incarceration and supportive services.
As of May 3rd: CDCR population was at 134.6% of design capacity, finally below the federal court-ordered cap of 137.5%. changes in the adult inmate parole population have resulted in a net decrease of $12.6 million from the Gov. January projected budget. Yet spending within the CDCR budget has grown steadily every year, from $8.9 billion (2012-2013) to this coming year’s proposed $12 billion. The budget does not directly propose any new dollars for prison or jail construction or expansion although it does prioritize $3.8 million for two “Young Adult Pilot Program” housing units to divert young adult prisoners from the adult system, reminiscent of last year’s proposed California Leadership Academy. While we definitely want to see our youth protected from moving into adult correctional facilities, we advocate for community-based diversion programs instead of programs that increase state capacity for prison structures. CURB maintains its opposition to any and all forms of prison construction.
- Implementation of Prop. 57: $5.7 million with an estimated net savings of $22.4 million and population reduction of nearly 3,000 (2018-19), growing to net savings of approximately $140 million and a reduction of 9,500 prisoners (2020-21).
- Local community colleges now offer in-person college courses at all state prisons, with the exception of the California Health Care Facility.
- Innovative programming grants ($4 million from the Inmate Welfare Fund) have been used to encourage non-profit providers to expand to underserved institutions.
- Parole Eligibility and credit earnings for non-violent offenses serving their full term for their primary offense: Projected to reduce the average daily adult prisoner population by 2,905 (2018-19).
Construction and Facility Changes:
- Prison Infrastructure: $152 million for new roofs at 5 facilities and mold remediation.
- Young Adult Pilot Program: New “housing units” to divert young adult prisoners from adult correctional facilities. Budget states the project will use public and private funds.
- Mental Health Treatment Beds: $20.1 million General Fund to address mental health treatment bed capacity issues as well as resources needed to monitor health care data reporting and patient referrals.
- Out of State Facilities: Implementation of Proposition 57 and other population reduction measures will allow CDCR to remove all prisoners from two remaining out-of-state facilities; Mississippi by May 2018 and Arizona by fall 2019. Anticipates returning all prisoners by 2020-21.
- Division of Rehabilitative Programs: $454 million for:
- Six-month transitional housing: 300-bed program in locations closest to the communities in which life-term prisoners will be released
- Community Reentry Program: A continued partnership with CDCR to increase the amount of contracts to provide housing, meals, support services, resources and peer-driven programming during the first 6 to 12 months after release.
Programs & Training:
- $12.9 million for training for officers (ethics, sexual harassment, implicit bias)
- $444,000 million to create a unit that will do sentence calculations
- $2 million to expand authority of the Secretary of the Department to petition courts to resentence people who either were erroneously sentenced to terms of imprisonment that are longer than provided for under law or have displayed exceptionally meritorious conduct.
- Additional expenditures for more correctional counselors, medical guarding and transit, health care services for reentry facilities, and overtime
Additional Budget Changes:
- Health Care: $3.2 billion for health care services. $105.8 for Hepatitis C Treatment $18.1 for Mental Health and Psychiatry
- DOJ: $10 million to implement the new tiered sex offender registry system and $14 million Cannabis Tax Fund to create investigation teams for large-scale illegal cannabis activities.
- Drug and Contraband: $9.1 million to pilot a Drug Interdiction Program and Medication Assisted Treatment Program (The pilot will be operational 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and all staff, volunteers and visitors will be searched prior to entering the prison. Canine teams, using passive dogs trained to detect drugs and contraband, will be present as an additional deterrent. The Medication Assisted Treatment program will complement these efforts and will include access to naltrexone and acamprosate for treatment of alcohol and opiate use disorders.)