The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 9, 2009
State releases Corrections audit

Thumbnail image for Bureau of State Audits seal.jpgThe Bureau of State Audits has issued a report on the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Some highlights:

While Corrections' expenditures have increased by almost 32 percent in the last three years, the inmate population has decreased by 1 percent during the same period.
Corrections' ability to determine the influence that factors such as overcrowding, vacant positions, escalating overtime costs, and aging inmates have on the cost of operations is limited because of a lack of information.

The cost of housing an inmate out of state in fiscal year 2007-08 was less per inmate than the amount Corrections spent to house inmates in some of its institutions.
Overtime is so prevalent that of the almost 28,000 correctional officers paid in fiscal year 2007-08, more than 8,400 earned pay in excess of the top pay rate for officers two ranks above a correctional officer.

Over the next 14 years, the difference between providing new correctional officers with enhanced retirement benefits as opposed to the retirement benefits many other state workers receive, will cost the State an additional $1 billion.

Nearly 25 percent of the inmate population is incarcerated under the three strikes law. We estimated that the increase in sentence length due to the three strikes law will cost the State an additional $19.2 billion over the duration of the incarceration of this population.

Although Corrections' budget for academic and vocational programs totaled more than $208 million for fiscal year 2008-09, it is unable to assess the success of its programs.
California Prison Health Care Services' ability to transition to using telemedicine is impeded by a manual scheduling system and limited technology.

And here's a summary of CDCR's response:Thumbnail image for CDCR.jpg

Corrections believes that the report does not completely capture the complexity of many of the issues it addresses. For example, Corrections asserts that the source of the difficulty in determining the number of custody officers associated with a given group of inmates is that inmates have multiple characteristics and thus may be a part of more than one group. In addition, it believes that some of the topics discussed in the report are not solely within its purview to address and that while it agrees with our recommendation that it should seek better data to more effectively manage, it questions how this will allow it to reduce certain types of costs. Finally, Corrections believes that it has made progress in several of the areas discussed in the report, and will address the specific recommendations in future corrective action plans.

Click here to download the summary. Access all 112 PDF pages by clicking this link.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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