Thursday, September 17, 2009

CDCR Reduces Offender Rehabilitation Programs

Headquarters Staff Reduced to Contain Costs and Increase Efficiencies

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is cutting adult offender rehabilitation programs, reducing headquarters staff and creating new efficiencies to save over $280 million in response to the department’s plan to achieve a $1.2 billion budget reduction.

CDCR will cut $250 million in rehabilitation programs for adult offenders, including estimated layoffs of between 600-900 employees. These reductions will impact education, vocational, substance abuse, and other programs for inmates and parolees. This reduction represents over a third of the adult programs budget, and leaves approximately $350 million in the adult programs budget. Spending related to rehabilitation programs at CDCR headquarters also will be cut by almost 70 percent, from over $54 million to approximately $17 million.

In addition to cutting rehabilitation programs, CDCR has reduced its overall headquarters budget by abolishing nearly 400 positions at a savings of approximately $30 million annually. The department has also incorporated new policies to reduce costs related to overtime, office leases and vehicle usage.

Last month, CDCR announced a new staffing model for its Division of Juvenile Justice division that reduces its workforce by 14 percent – or 400 positions – and saves about $30-$40 million annually.

“The new budget reality has forced us to make tough choices as we weigh population reductions, staff layoffs, and a significant cut to our budget,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “We must increase our efficiency and target our limited resources for programs most likely to reduce recidivism and keep our communities and our prisons safe.”

“We will be changing the way we do business to reach as many offenders as possible with less funding,” said Elizabeth Siggins, Acting Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Programs. “We are working on strategies to shorten the length of in-prison substance abuse treatment, utilizing long-term offenders as counselors and literacy tutors, developing alternative methods of delivering education, and increasing volunteer activities.”

Within the next few weeks, pending Department of Personnel Administration approval, CDCR will notify affected employees with State Restriction of Appointments (SROA) letters, which is the first step in the layoff process. Today, termination letters will be sent to eight contractors who provide substance abuse services inside the state’s prisons. These terminations will affect 24 individual contracts. By next month, CDCR will be issuing Invitations for Bids for the remaining in-prison substance abuse programs and working with Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agencies to amend and reduce the aftercare and Female Offender Treatment and Employment Program contracts.

Overall, program-related reductions are anticipated to eliminate more than 1,000 positions, but because of existing vacancies, the number of actual layoffs is expected to be somewhere between 600 and 900, depending upon final negotiations. These include:

  • Reduction of education-related positions, including teachers, librarians, supervisory and support positions, by approximately 30-50 percent, resulting in 600 -800 layoffs;
  • Reduction in substance-abuse related positions by approximately 30-60 percent, resulting in 50-100 layoffs. (These layoffs do not include contract employees who will be affected due to contract terminations and reductions.);
  • Reduction or delay in contracts for programs in the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) totaling almost $50 million; and
  • Savings in the Female Offender Programs and Services (FOPS), including delays in contracts and an associated reduction in staffing, totaling over $90 million.
CDCR is developing a streamlined rehabilitation model that targets limited resources on programs most effective in reducing recidivism, uses evidence-based principles in inmate assessment and program delivery, captures the skills of inmates and community volunteers to augment the capacity of rehabilitation programs, and attempts to minimize layoffs to the extent possible by reducing vacancies first.

The new model will (1) Promote General Education Development (GED) preparation of inmates and maximize the number of inmates anticipated to attain a GED; (2) Increase access to literacy programs so that inmates leave prison able to function on a job and in society; (3) Utilize trained long-term offenders as literacy tutors and as Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors; and (4) Increase space and nominal funding to support programs provided by community volunteers, including Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, victims’ awareness groups and other programs.

In-prison substance abuse treatment will be streamlined to provide three months (compared the current six-36 months) of treatment with an emphasis on aftercare in the community. The return to prison rate after two years for offenders who complete both in-prison and community-based substance abuse programs is 35 percent compared to 54 percent for all offenders.

CDCR is also in the process of developing non-traditional methods of delivering education that rely on the best practices in adult education which use a combination of classroom instruction and independent study. Additionally, we will be using more civil service Teaching Assistants and training long-term offenders with a GED or above to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring.

Over the next few months, CDCR will be working with affected labor organizations to implement these changes. Final decisions regarding new program models will be pending those negotiations.

New Adult Rehabilitation Model
Fact Sheet