Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Innovative Southern California Female Reform Programs to be Toured

11 a.m. Friday, August 25, 2006
Family Foundations Program Facility
11121 Bloomfield Avenue
Santa Fe Springs, CA

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will host tours of the Santa Fe Springs Family Foundations Program in Los Angeles County. Wendy Still, Associate Director of CDCR Female Programs, Program Director Angela Knox, and female offenders/residents and program staff will be on hand to answer questions and take reporters through the facility.

The Family Foundation Program is a community-based program for female offenders administered by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The women are non-violent, non-serious offenders who have histories of substance abuse and are either be pregnant or parenting a child under the age of six. The mother spends 12 months in the highly structured residential treatment program followed by 12 months in an aftercare/transition period designed to help her successfully reenter society.

As part of his prison reform proposals, Governor Schwarzenegger has outlined female inmate reforms that would provide as many as 4,500 beds in residential, low-security settings so that female offenders could receive more rehabilitative programming while serving their sentences closer to their families rather than in existing prisons located in more remote areas. The proposals would provide the types of rehabilitative programming that help to break the intergenerational cycle of incarceration and strengthen family ties. Such rehabilitation ultimately is beneficial to public safety.

For more on the Governor's prison reform proposals, click here.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Releases Statewide RFI to Solicit Responses in Re-Entry Facilities

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit responses from local agencies on possible locations for community-based, re-entry facilities in California. The re-entry facilities, part of Governor Schwarzenegger's prison reform proposals, will assist inmates and parolees in making a successful transition from prison to their communities.

"These re-entry facilities give inmates the tools to be better citizens when they are paroled from prison - and that makes good sense for public safety," said CDCR Secretary (A) Jim Tilton.

Representing a new rehabilitation concept for California, re-entry facilities would be built in local communities and are designed to help selected inmates make a successful transition from prison back into the community when they are paroled. While still in custody, and preparing for release from prison, inmates would have access to counseling, drug and alcohol treatment programs, victim awareness counseling, job and life skills training, education and other aids during the last months of their sentence.
There is an emerging consensus among researchers and policy makers nationwide that a focus on offender reentry is a critical component in developing safer communities and reducing the cycle of recidivism and crime committed by parolees in their communities. Research shows that re-entry facilities make inmates more likely to succeed on parole and less likely to re-offend by re-connecting with their families and other community ties during the last stages of their prison sentence while they also receive treatment and education programs that help them turn their lives around. These facilities would only be located in cities and counties who have agreed to become partners with CDCR in the effort.

The programs would be developed in collaboration with local service agencies, who can continue their relationship with inmates after they are released. The facilities would be locked, secure facilities and would be staffed with correctional officers. Also, the facilities are small, housing no more than 500 inmates each, to enhance the effectiveness of treatment programs and to blend into the communities where they are built.

In addition, the facilities would be used to house parole violators so that they could remain in their communities instead of being returned to prisons in remote locations, which would enable them to continue in local rehabilitation programs without disruption, which is critical to the ability of parolees to successfully return to a crime-free life in their communities.

In 2005, more than 120,000 inmates were released on parole from California prisons, while more than 81,000 of them were returned to prison for violating the conditions of their parole.

During the special legislative session on prison overcrowding, which was called by Governor Schwarzenegger, CDCR is requesting authorization to build re-entry facilities for up to 5,000 inmates, allocated across the state.

Responses to the RFI are due to the department by September 29, 2006. For more information on the Governor's prison reform proposals, click here.

Chief Deputy's Parole Reentry Letter
Request for Interest, Parole Reentr

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

National Study on Female Incarceration Supports Female Reentry Reform Efforts by CDCR During Special Session

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) issued a Special Report, "Reducing the Incarceration of Women: Community-Based Alternatives," Monday that supports Governor Schwarzenegger's female offender reform proposals.

Legislative members and representatives from a number of state and national women's and children's advocacy groups joined Assembly Member Sally Lieber and CDCR Secretary (A) James Tilton today in a call for immediate and swift action by the Legislature on this issue.

According to the NCCD report, the council supports the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s recent proposed expansion of community corrections and reentry facilities for female offenders that are now being discussed by the State Legislature in the Special Session on Prison Reform.

"This report provides compelling evidence that too many female offenders in the state today have too few opportunities for rehabilitation and may not be appropriately placed when sentenced by the county courts to state prison," Tilton said. "The report makes a number of recommendations that are worthy of consideration as the Legislature debates these reforms and our initiative for female offender reentry."

Representatives and groups supporting the report recommendation, as well as the reform proposal include: Assembly Members Rudy Bermudez and Todd Spitzer; California State Commission on the Status of Women; California NOW (National Organization for Women); California State NAACP; National Center for Youth Law; National Council on Crime and Delinquency and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

"There is bi-partisan support for female offender reform," said Assembly Member Rudy Bermudez. "With the Little Hoover Commission report and the ongoing support of our community partners, the clock is ticking."

"Let's pass this legislation because as a public policy issue it makes good common sense," said Assembly Member Todd Spitzer.

"This is a modest but important step in a pressing environment," said NAACP spokesperson James Sweeney.

"This is designed to have maximum impact on our female offender population, and we wholeheartedly support it," said Curt Child, representing the National Center for Youth Law."

Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal would authorize the CDCR to contract with community service organizations to provide as many as 4,500 beds in residential, low-security settings so that female inmates could receive more rehabilitative programming while serving their sentences closer to their families rather than in existing prisons which are located in remote areas.

The proposal is intended to provide the types of rehabilitation programming that reduce the occurrence of repeat crimes in a setting that strengthens family ties by making it easier for spouses and children to have regular contact with inmates. That stability is a key factor identified by criminology experts in motivating inmates and parolees to resume a constructive life.

The movement of female inmates to these facilities also could provide up to 4,500 beds that have the potential to ease over-crowding among male inmates, a primary issue to be addressed in the Legislative Special Session.
The report can be downloaded from the following website:
http://www.nccd-crc.org/

For more information on the prison reform proposals, click here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Corrections, Legislature Focus on Prison Reform; Several Bills Introduced During Special Session

Expanding reentry programs, new academy, out-of-state beds

Sacramento - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has collaborated with several members of the State Legislature during the special session this month to introduce several bills to solve the urgent issues of overcrowding and provide meaningful rehabilitation to protect public safety. The bills, introduced in both houses, focus on reentry programs for female and male offenders, construction of new facilities, and out-of-state placement for non-United States resident inmates.

"The Governor's proposals are about more than building prisons," CDCR Secretary (A) James Tilton said. "They give inmates critical tools before they are released. In the short run, we need space for beds. In the longer term, we need space for education, vocation and treatment programs that reduce the number of prison inmates who would compete for those beds."

The bills introduced include:

  • ABX 1 (Assembly Member Sally Lieber) - would authorize CDCR to contract for 4,500 female beds for treatment and housing for non-serious/non-violent female offenders;
  • ABX 2 (Assembly Member Todd Spitzer) and SBX 3 (Senator Jim Battin) - would authorize CDCR to construct additional capacity at existing prisons within California. It would also allow CDCR to house male inmates at the Northern California Women's Facility in Stockton;
  • ABX 4 (Assembly Member Nicole Parra) and SBX 1 (Senator George Runner) - would allow CDCR to construct two new prisons and allow CDCR to construct up to 5,000 reentry beds in California;
  • ABX 5 (Assembly Member Rudy Bermudez) and SBX 2 (Senator George Runner) - would allow CDCR to site and operate a training facility in southern California. Would also allow CDCR to use the Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility in Whittier to either house inmates or to train staff. It would also authorize CDCR to conduct its own in-house psychological screening of peace officer candidates;
  • ABX 6 (Assembly Member John Benoit) and SBX 4 (Senator Bob Dutton) - would allow CDCR to use the design-build construction method for building existing or new prisons in California;
  • ABX 9 (Assembly Member Sally Lieber) - would authorize CDCR to contract for up to 4,000 male community correctional beds;
  • ABX 10 (Assembly Member Sally Lieber) - would authorize CDCR to contract for up to 5,000 out-of-state beds to house undocumented felons;
  • Senator Jackie Speier introduced legislation on Aug. 18, yet to be numbered, that would authorize housing undocumented felons (ICE holds) in other states, and would authorize CDCR to contract for 4,500 female beds for treatment and housing of non-serious, non-violent female offenders.
The prison reform proposals focus on moving inmates to smaller, treatment-focused secure facilities in the communities where they will be released. At these facilities they can receive mental health treatment, drug and alcohol counseling, and job training just prior to release. The facilities also provide inmate and parolees an opportunity to connect with social services and local law enforcement early-on, increasing the ability of the police, parole, and treatment providers to improve reentry success.

"California's prisons cannot offer rehabilitation programs unless CDCR has more space," Tilton added. "These reforms will provide space for 40,000 beds over the next five years."

State prison overcrowding delays the transfer of inmates from county jails, forcing the early release of county prisoners. Today, 30 California counties operate under federally-imposed caps on jail populations, while another 12 operate under self-imposed caps.

More information is available at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Communications/ssFactsNews.html

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

High Risk Sex Offender Task Force Makes Recommendations to Governor on Placing, Overseeing Sex Offenders in Communities

Legislators, law enforcement, community groups collaborate

Sacramento - Members of the California High Risk Sex Offender (HRSO) Task Force today presented Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with 10 recommendations for a statewide system to improve policies related to the placement, supervision and monitoring of high risk sex offenders in local communities to enhance public safety.

The task force was created in May 2006 by Executive Order S-08-06, and was charged with reviewing the current statutory requirements and California Department of Corrections (CDCR) policies on notifying, placing, monitoring, and enforcing parole policies with regard to high risk sex offenders. The task force, co-chaired by Assembly Members Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) and Rudy Bermudez (D-Norwalk) and CDCR Secretary (A) Jim Tilton, is composed of state and local law enforcement officials, parole representatives, victims and community groups. The task force held public hearings last week in Sacramento, Fresno and Orange County to solicit input on the issues.

"I applaud Governor Schwarzenegger for calling for the creation of this Task Force," said Secretary Tilton. "If we can adopt policies to make the management of this dangerous population better for public safety, then we must work together to do so. This department is committed to working with local law enforcement, community leaders and victims' advocacy groups to improve the policies and practices related to the placement and monitoring of sex offenders in the community."

The Task Force's recommendations include:

  • The application of a risk assessment tool to determine if an inmate is a high risk offender no later than 120 days prior to being released on parole;
  • All California inmates required to register as sex offenders and those designated as high risk must receive appropriate, specialized treatment while incarcerated;
  • Adopt improved procedures for notifying local law enforcement and victims prior to the release of a sex offender from prison;
  • Monitoring all HRSOs on parole with Global Positioning Units (GPS) units;
  • Adopt Legislative changes to the Megan’s law website to specifically identify HRSOs who are on parole and those that are being monitored by GPS;
  • The establishment of a permanent Sex Offender Management Board.
  • Directing parole oversight of HRSOs to include a four part program including, treatment, parole supervision, the use of polygraphs and victims advocacy to both monitor and modify the behavior of offenders.
Once a sex offender has served his prison term, CDCR is mandated to release him back to the community. CDCR currently oversees about 10,000 sex offenders, of which about 3,200 have been designated high risk.

"Almost all convicted sex offenders will eventually return to our communities, with a short period of time under direct supervision, either on parole, probation or conditional release," said Task Force Co-Chair Assembly Member Todd Spitzer. "It is imperative that during this period of time when sex offenders are under direct supervision, there is a comprehensive and cohesive network of interventions available to control the behavior of sex offenders and prevent recidivism and future victimization."

In June 2006, one recommendation made by the Task Force was deemed critical to public safety and, at the request of the Task Force members, was sent to the Governor immediately. The Governor subsequently issued Executive Order S-09-06 which directs the CDCR to develop a pre-release program that thoroughly evaluates all sex offenders and identifies appropriate housing prior to their release from prison. This pre-release screening should ensure compliance with state residency laws and thereby eliminate the need for "temporary housing" such as in motels or too close to a school. This recommendation is already being implemented by the CDCR's parole division.

"The placement of convicted sex offenders in our community will always be a concern for all Californians," said Task Force Co-Chair Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez. "We must be diligent in our obligation to protect communities and our children."

Click here to see the complete list of recommendations and the task force's report

California High Risk Sex Offender Task Force

  • Assembly Member Rudy Bermúdez (D-Norwalk), Co-chair
  • Assembly Member Todd Spitzer (R-Orange), Co-chair
  • James Tilton, Secretary California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitati
  • Jan Scully, District Attorney Sacramento County California District Attorneys Association
  • Ed Bonner, Sheriff Placer County California State Sheriffs Association
  • Steve Krull, Chief Livermore Police Department California Police Chiefs Association
  • Jerry Powers, President Chief Probation Officers of California
  • David Runnels Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Operations California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Jeff Fagot, Director (A) Division of Adult Parole Operations California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Suzanne Brown-McBride Executive Director California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Brenda Crowding-Johnson Parole Agent I Parole Agents Association of California Alex Padilla, President League of California Cities
  • Don Horsley, Sheriff San Mateo County California State Association of Counties

Monday, August 14, 2006

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to Host Media Briefing on Special Session Bills with Authors

11 a.m. Room 1190
State Capitol

CDCR Secretary (A) James Tilton to conduct a media briefing on the Legislative Package on Prison Reform for the Special Session. Authors of those bills will join Mr. Tilton to discuss the proposals and answer questions.

High Risk Sex Offender Task Force Presents Recommendations to Governor on August 15

The High Risk Sex Offender Task Force, established by Gov. Schwarzenegger earlier this year, will give its recommendations on the placement and supervision of High Risk Sex Offenders (HRSO) in California. The recommendations come after three months of discussions, studies, and public hearings.

The task force members will present their recommendations and answer questions at:

9 a.m. Tuesday, August 15
Room 1190, State Capitol

Task force members included task force co-chairs Assembly Member Rudy Bermudez (D-Norwalk), Assembly Member Todd Spitzer (R-Orange), and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary (A) James E. Tilton as well as other members of the task force.

The task force recommendations focus on issues of supervising and placing High Risk Sex Offenders in communities in California. Gov. Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-08-06 on May 15, 2006, establishing the task force. It was charged with reviewing the current statutory requirements and departmental policies on notification, placement, monitoring, and enforcement of parole policies with regard to high risk sex offenders and to provide recommendations to improve them by Aug. 15, 2006