Friday, July 7, 2006

Corrections to Release Requests for Proposals for Female Community Correctional Rehabilitation Centers

Focus on reducing recidivism, supporting prison reform

Sacramento -The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will issue a request for proposal (RFP) for nearly 4,500 community-based beds in Female Community Correctional Rehabilitation Centers (FCCRC).

"The RFP is part of our strategic plan to reduce recidivism and provide rehabilitation for female offenders, and it supports Governor Schwarzenegger's prison reform efforts, including the special legislative session he called last month," said Acting CDCR Secretary James Tilton.

"There are 11,600 female state prison inmates," Tilton said, "but only 867 of them are housed in community-based beds, such as the Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility, though nearly 6,000 of them are eligible for community based placement."

As part of the female offender reform efforts, more than 4,300 minimum-security inmates serving time for non-serious, non-violent offenses would be moved from more expensive lock-ups into a Female Community Correctional Rehabilitation Center. The centers, designed for 75, 100, and 200 inmates, would provide inmates with educational and vocational programs, substance abuse treatment and education, group and individual counseling, family counseling and reunification programs, sober living skills, wellness, recreational and religious programs, and links for community services.

"Women offenders would be placed in a center near her county of commitment," said Wendy Still, Associate Director for Female Offender Programs and Services. "Not only would she have access to structured rehabilitative programs, she would be living near her family and children. This should or will strengthen her ties with her children, enhance family reunification, and help break the intergenerational cycle of crime," she added.

CDCR has focused on female offender reform and strategic plans for improving outcomes for female offenders since a task force was created in January 2005. It established a Gender Responsive Strategies Commission to address the significant growth of the female inmate population, lower recidivism, and to address the differences in male and female incarceration, management and rehabilitation.

"Treatment and rehabilitative programs would be tailored for each woman from the time she arrives at the rehabilitative center to the time she completes her parole," Still said.

The Female Community Correctional Rehabilitation Centers, secure facilities staffed by CDCR custody staff around the clock, would also be staffed by state and contract employees to provide rehabilitative programs, oversee operations, and provide medical, mental health and dental care. Dr. Barbara Bloom, a nationally recognized female offender expert, assisted CDCR with the program design. A contracted architectural firm has developed facility guidelines for the design of the centers.

The Request for Proposals for the Female Community Correctional Rehabilitation Centers is a major step forward in undertaking female offender reform and addressing the historic levels of overcrowding in all state prisons.