Thursday, December 13, 2007

Board Significantly Increases Preference for Jail Bond Funds to Reward Counties Siting Secure Community Reentry Facilities

Corrections Standards Authority Unanimously Approves Amendments to Double Reentry Facility Preference Points

SACRAMENTO – The Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) today agreed to significantly increase the preference in their formula for distributing jail bond funds to reward counties that site secure community reentry facilities. At a Board meeting in Sacramento, CSA members unanimously approved amendments to a preliminary request for proposal that will double the preference awarded to counties who site a reentry facility. Counties that assist the state in helping parolees get mental health services will also receive increased funding preference.

"Today's action by the Corrections Standards Authority is consistent with the goals of our historic, bipartisan prison reform bill. AB 900 makes secure reentry facilities and rehabilitation the cornerstone of turning around our troubled prison system, to reduce recidivism and overcrowding. These facilities will house inmates who are close to their release date and give them the critically-needed counseling, services, job training and housing placement to help parolees return to society as law-abiding citizens," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Counties partnering with the state to host a reentry facility have earned the right to access jail bond funding."

The amended request for proposal increases the preference points for siting a secure community reentry facility from 150 to 300 points. It also increases the points for counties that provide mental health and aftercare services for parolees from 50 to 100 points. These factors, combined with evaluations of such factors as project need, average daily jail population, crime statistics, and others combine for a total of 1,325 points possible. The increase in the total points for siting a reentry facility and mental health and aftercare services will give counties who have taken those steps a significant advantage.

“The intent of the legislature and the Governor with the passage of comprehensive prison reform this year was to significantly reward those counties who site secure community reentry facilities with increased access to jail bond funds,” said James Tilton, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and CSA Board Chair.

“The Board’s actions will ensure that those counties who are working with the state to improve the process for transitioning their residents who are coming home by siting reentry facilities will be moved to the top of the list if they have a demonstrated need for jail beds as well. The Board’s unanimous agreement demonstrates a true partnership and cooperative spirit between counties big and small, local law enforcement, and the state. I commend the Board on conducting such an open process and on their willingness to consider input from all stakeholders. This type of coordination will be necessary at every step of the way to ensure that the new reentry model is successful.”

Assembly Bill 900, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on May 3, 2007, authorizes a total of $750 million in bonds to relieve overcrowding in local jails in Phase I. Counties that site reentry facilities and assist parolees with mental health and aftercare services will receive funding preference. The preliminary request for proposal approved today will divide the Phase I jail bond funding between the counties as follows:

  • 14 large counties, with a population of more than 700,001 residents, and 13 medium counties, with a population between 200,001 and 700,000, will be eligible to compete for $650 million in funds. Large counties will have a $100 million maximum cap while medium counties have an $80 million maximum cap.
  • 31 small counties, with a population of less than 200,000 residents, will be eligible to compete for $100 million in funds. There will be a cap imposed of $30 million per project. There are 30 small counties with jails.
Phase II funding for local jails beds will provide an additional $450 million in funding, after Phase I benchmarks are met. Under AB 900, counties are required to match 25% of the total $1.2 billion (approximately $300 million) in funding for local jail projects. Counties with population’s less than 200,000 are eligible to have their matching funds reduced or eliminated, at the discretion of CSA.

“No one was under the impression that the jail bond funds allocated in AB 900 would be enough to meet the statewide needs for local beds,” said Secretary Tilton. “We are optimistic that the comprehensive reforms passed this year, which build beds that will focus on reentry and rehabilitation, will be a down payment on the statewide need, and help to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.”

To date, 16 counties have signed agreements to cooperate with the state to site a reentry facility. San Joaquin, Calaveras and Amador are the only counties that have a sited reentry facility, and will be converting the former Northern California Women’s Facility in Stockton into a secure community reentry facility. Following today’s meeting, the CSA will release a revised Request For Proposal. Proposals from counties applying for Phase I jail bond funds under AB 900 will be due on March 18, 2007.

The CSA works in partnership with city and county officials to develop and maintain standards for the construction of local jails and juvenile detention facilities and their operation. The CSA is composed of 19 members, including the CDCR secretary, four members designated by the secretary, and 14 members appointed by the Governor in consultation with CDCR and with the consent of the Senate. For more information on CSA visit: