Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gubernatorial Budget 2014-2015

The Governor's proposed budget for 2014-2015 is out and its full text is here. Public safety is addressed on pages 65-88 and the correctional budget is addressed on pages 89-93.

The budget proposes total funding of $9.8 billion ($9.5 billion General Fund and $320 million other funds), which is 9% of the state budget - only slightly less than our expenditures on higher education.

The report reviews the history of realignment and the Plata litigation, mentioning the state prison system's commitment to reentry as per the Blueprint titled The Future of California Corrections (here is the Blueprint, for your convenience.) The report emphasizes CDCR's commitment to expanding the rehabilitation menu to reach 70% of all inmates.

The report goes, at length, into the changes brought about with realignment, including the following useful classification of the prison population:



Still, the state prison population is higher than projected in 2013 - about 135,000 inmates vs. the 129,000 projected. The parolee population is expected to increase in 2013-2014 and decrease in 2014-2015, as a result of realignment and the transference of post-sentence supervisees to the counties. There are also more juvenile wards than projected, as a result of an increase in first admissions and in parole violations.

The budget report explicitly refers to the legal battle waged around the 137.5% capacity cap mandated by the federal court, and assumes that the deadline for meeting the cap will be extended by two years. Remember the $315 million that Governor Brown appropriated at the very last minute of the last legislative session? If there is an extension, the budget will allocate the first $75 million of the money to recidivism reduction (state reentry, substance abuse treatment, services for the mentally ill, and a special reentry facility) and the rest to the general fund. However, should the population cap deadline not be delayed, the money will be invested in private prisons "to avoid the early release of inmates." You can see where this is going; the money is essentially there to more-or-less extort the Three Judge Panel and circumvent its perceived intention. The message is - play nice and give us two more years, in which case we'll invest in rehabilitation, or you'll get private prisons galore.

More interesting stuff: A projected expansion of medical and elderly parole. The age cutoff for the latter is 60, which means 5.4 percent of male inmates and 4.4 percent of female inmates (as of June 30.) If they pushed the age cutoff back to 55, which makes criminological and gerontological sense (people age faster in prison, and people leave crime behind at an earlier age), you'd be releasing 11.2 percent of men and 10.4 percent of women. So - a step in the right direction, but plenty of room for improvement.

The report also mentions two other savings mechanisms: nonviolent third-striker releases per Prop 36 and juvenile parole per SB260. While the report doesn't explicitly take credit for them, it is a bit surprising to read such positive reports of these from an entity that fought the spirit of these initiatives for years.

A considerable amount of the money will be spent on improving health scores in state prisons so they can be wrangled away from the Receiver. Much of the money is allocated to fund litigation, to fight the Receiver and class-action suits in court; the rest of it on improvements to pharmacies, facilities, and staff training. The report mentions the impact of Obamacare on health care for county inmates as opposed to state inmates.

Lastly, there are some notable comments on realignment in the counties. There's a proposal to make split sentences the default, but it still leaves a considerable amount of discretion to county judges, and would still create big disparities between county. Also, the report notes that keeping long-term inmates in county jails is not a great idea, but does not volunteer to take them back into state institutions en masse (as Manuel Perez has just suggested) because of the need to comply with the Plata/Coleman caps. The state is willing to take in offenders who are serving 10 years or more - that's about 300 years annually - but that, of course, raises the question why people receive 10 years in prison for non-non-non offenses in the first place.

4 comments:

Jaime Wong said...

aimessia fourFrom all other posts it is second strikers that are nonviolent; that will be able to be released after serving 2/3 of their doubled sentence and projected to release 1400 by 2016 this is taken straight from Governor Brown's
2014-2015 Budget. There has been talk that the third strikers who can be resentenced should have it done automatically instead of petitioning the court for this. That's still up in the air but the others factors was state to be done immediately but the wheels of justice vary in speeds.

Jaime Wong said...

From all other posts including the Governor Brown's budget the option was releasing SECOND strikers after they have done 2/3 of their doubled sentence only those non-violent and a projected 1400 second strikers would be released by 2016. These option were stated to be done immediately but the wheels of justice can vary in speeds.

Thomas said...

The Legislative Analyst's Office's recap of the impact of the proposed budget on the state's plans to meet its court-ordered prison population cap is on PP 41-42 of the summary, here.

Anonymous said...

The latest in the prison crisis is a huge problem waiting to happen in some of the private prisons.

Desert View for instance has one whole yard with no jobs available so you have a bunch of inmates sitting around and starting to get angry which leads to riots, etc.

Visitation rooms are too small
so visits are cut short after an hour in some cases. Family is driving for long distance or any distance for that matter to support the rehabilitation of the inmate. Studies have always shown that inmates with visits are happier and less prone to cause trouble. Family support is also important for inmate rehabilitation.

Staff is quitting because of whatever management is doing which puts these places at risk for even other issues.

Do not listen to Gov. Brown about all the "good" he has done. It will come out in the end as they are sending those less likely to re-offend to these private prisons ran so badly that the possibility of turning a trying to rehabilitate person back a few year in the progress they have made is real.

No school, no jobs, no family support.