BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 219
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 12, 2011
          Counsel:        Milena Nelson


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                                 Tom Ammiano, Chair

                   AB 219 (Portantino) - As Amended:  April 6, 2011
           

          SUMMARY  :   Requires the California Department of Corrections and 
          Rehabilitation (CDCR) to reduce the recidivism rate of 2010 by 
          20% by 2015 and 40% by 2020.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)States that this act shall be known as the "California 
            Recidivism Goals Development and Achievement Act".  

          2)States that California's prison problems are directly tied to 
            related to overcrowding and recidivism, which has been 
            historically measured at 70%.  

          3)States legislative intent to make rehabilitation, including 
            substance abuse treatment and vocational and academic 
            programs, a priority to ensure the public safety and to 
            release inmates to California communities as productive and 
            contributing members of society.

          4)States that CDCR currently spends about 1% of its budget on 
            vocational and academic programs, even though 75% of the 
            inmate population cannot read above a ninth grade level.  
            Since the word "rehabilitation" was added to CDCR's title in 
            2006, the budget for rehabilitation has been cut almost in 
            one-half.

          5)States that a critical part of success is aftercare and that 
            parolees who are able to access community-based drug 
            treatment, mental health, and educational or job training upon 
            release are much more likely to stay out of prison.  

          6)States that a CDCR study in 2009 found that both male and 
            female inmates who completed both in-prison and 
            community-based substance abuse programs had a lower rate of 
            recidivism than those inmates who completed no program at all 
            or only completed an in-prison substance abuse program.  









                                                                  AB 219
                                                                  Page  2

          7)States that a Washington State Policy Institute study from 
            2010 found that for every $1 spent on vocational education 
            programs in prison, there was a return of nearly $14, and for 
            academic programs, a $0.96 investment had a return of nearly 
            $11.  

          8)States that a study, "Three State Recidivism Study", from 
            2001, conducted in Maryland, Ohio, and Minnesota on the effect 
            of in-prison educational programming on recidivism, found a 
            29% overall reduction in re-incarceration rates when compared 
            to inmates without programing.  

          9)States that a 2008 Legislative Analyst's Office Report, "From 
            Cellblocks to Classrooms," acknowledged the central role that 
            educational programing plays in reducing recidivism and 
            recommended several steps CDCR could take to maximize current 
            programming resources and increase attendance in academic and 
            vocational programs.  

          10)States that immediate steps must be taken to reduce the 
            revolving door of prison that sees inmates return only after a 
            short time.  

          11)States legislative intent that CDCR coordinate with state 
            agencies, the medical community, drug and alcohol abuse 
            treatment professionals the centers, the criminal justice 
            community, industry sectors, business groups, academic 
            institutions, organizations and other stakeholders in 
            implementing a reduction in criminal recidivism rates, as 
            specified.  

          12)States legislative intent that CDCR develop specific 
            standards, programs, educational opportunities, counseling, 
            and medical and follow up care that will reduce the criminal 
            recidivism rate to meet specified target rates.

          13)States legislative intent that CDCR create identifiable and 
            measureable goals designed to assess the effectiveness of 
            programs and efforts to reduce recidivism statewide and at 
            each state correctional facility.  

          14)States that CDCR is the state agency charged with creating 
            programs and services to reduce criminal recidivism, and 
            states that CDCR shall assess and identify the success of 
            programs and services as necessary to meet state-mandated 








                                                                  AB 219
                                                                  Page  3

            goals.  

          15)Requires CDCR to adopt regulations that require the reporting 
            and verification of the statewide criminal recidivism rate on 
            an annual basis.  In reporting the prior year's recidivism 
            rate, CDCR shall compare that rate to the 2010 criminal 
            recidivism rate.

          16)Requires CDCR to develop realistic targets, approved by the 
            California Rehabilitation Oversight Board (CROB), and shall 
            implement a plan based on those targets to reduce the 
            recidivism rate, as specified.  Success towards meeting that 
            goal shall be reported to the legislature as part of the 
            annual budget process for CDCR's budget. 

          17)Requires CROB to examine the programs and services operated 
            by CDCR to reduce criminal recidivism, and to consult with 
            CDCR regarding implementing CDCR's plan to reduce recidivism, 
            as specified.   

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Creates the Reentry Advisory Committee to advise the Secretary 
            of CDCR on all matters related to the successful statewide 
            planning, implementation and outcomes of all reentry programs 
            and services provided by CDCR, with the goal of reducing 
            recidivism of all persons under the jurisdiction of CDCR.  
            (Penal Code Section 5056.5.)

          2)Makes various findings regarding the relationship between 
            substance abuse, public safety, and recidivism.  (Penal Code 
            Section 6240.)

          3)Establishes Substance Abuse Community Correctional Detention 
            Centers.  These centers are locally operated and are designed 
            to manage parole violators, individuals sentenced to prison 
            for a short period of time, and other sentenced local 
            offenders with a known history of substance abuse.  (Penal 
            Code Section 6241.)

          4)States that CROB shall meet at least quarterly, and shall 
            regularly examine the various mental health, substance abuse, 
            educational, and employment programs for inmates and parolees 
            operated by CDCR.  CROB shall report to the Governor and the 
            Legislature biannually, on March 15 and September 15, and may 








                                                                  AB 219
                                                                  Page  4

            submit other reports during the year if it finds they are 
            necessary. The reports shall include, but are not limited to, 
            findings on the effectiveness of treatment efforts, 
            rehabilitation needs of offenders, gaps in CDCR's 
            rehabilitation services, and levels of offender participation 
            and success in the programs.  CROB shall also make 
            recommendations to the Governor and Legislature with respect 
            to modifications, additions, and eliminations of 
            rehabilitation and treatment programs.  In performing its 
            duties, CROB shall use the work products developed for CDCR, 
            as specified.  (Penal Code Section 6141.)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement  :  According to the author, "California 
            spends about $10 billion annually, or 7.6 percent of the 
            general fund on warehousing prisoners and overseeing parolees. 
             With the state's severe budget crisis and the Governor's call 
            for shrinking spending, reducing the number of offenders who 
            are sent back to prison can slash a considerable amount of 
            money from the prison system.  On any given day, 456 out of 
            every 100,000 people are behind bars in California.  There are 
            33 prisons and 42 adult camps with a total prison population 
            of around 170,000.  The average cost per prisoner is $49,000 
            per year.

          "Governor Schwarzenegger wanted to reduce the prison population 
            with no safeguards for local communities or attention to the 
            impact of recidivism.  The early release of thousands of 
            inmates also coincided with the cutting of many of the reentry 
            and job training programs. 

          "Prison reform is not letting people out of prison early; it's 
            stopping the tidal wave of returning prisoners.  So much of 
            the current debate has revolved around alternative sentencing 
            and releasing inmates before they serve their full terms as a 
            way to save money.  When seven out of ten inmates return to 
            prison, these approaches don't reduce overall costs and don't 
            lower the crime rate.  We need to figure out a strategy for 
            lowering the return rate of incarceration."  
           
           2)Background  :  According to background submitted by the author, 
            "Our prisons are a revolving door which returns 70% of 








                                                                  AB 219
                                                                  Page  5

            prisoners that are released back to incarceration.  In effect, 
            California is spending billions of dollars warehousing 
            prisoners only to see them return after their sentences are 
            served.  Our prison system is failing to prepare prisoners for 
            life in our communities as productive citizens. 

          "As a partial solution to the California budget deficit, 
            California has in the past few years, focused on cutting 
            services that prepare inmates for reintegration and has 
            instead proposed early release.  Given that 70% inmates return 
            to prison, early release will not save the state any money; it 
            will only increase the amount of crime in our communities.  
            California will ultimately be better off if we focus on truly 
            rehabilitating our inmates.  This approach in the long term 
            will save money.

          "AB 219 would require the Department of Corrections and 
            Rehabilitation to establish goals to cut California's 
            recidivism rates by 20% within the next four years and 40% by 
            2020.  The bill would also require the CDCR to report and 
            verify those rates.  The CDCR is in the best position to 
            assess and implement the rehabilitation needs of our state 
            prison inmates."

           3)Argument in Support  :  According to the  California Public 
            Defenders Association  , "Focusing on effective recidivism 
            reduction programming that takes place in-custody as well as 
            in the community is the key to being smart on crime and 
            maximizing scares taxpayer dollars.  Instead of a formula that 
            simply rewards low bid contracts or unproven programs, AB 219 
            would require CDCR to develop specific standards, programs, 
            educational opportunities, counseling, and medical and 
            follow-up care that will effectively reduce criminal 
            recidivism among persons incarcerated in California prisons.  
            Furthermore, AB 219 would declare legislative intent for CDCR 
            to create identifiable and measureable goals designed to 
            assess the effectiveness of programs and efforts to reduce 
            recidivism statewide and at each state correctional facility."

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Public Defenders Association 
          Service Employees International Union, Local 1000








                                                                  AB 219
                                                                  Page  6


           Opposition 
           
          None
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Milena Nelson / PUB. S. / (916) 
          319-3957