BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                      



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   SB 139|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 139
          Author:   Alquist (D)
          Amended:  5/24/11
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 5/3/11
          AYES:  Hancock, Calderon, Harman, Liu, Price, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Anderson

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8


           SUBJECT  :    Corrections:  Inspector General

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    The purpose of this bill is to (1) require the 
          Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to 
          oversee and conduct periodic and random searches of 
          employees and vendors entering the secure perimeter of a 
          state prison under the jurisdiction of CDCR for contraband, 
          as specified; (2) require CDCR to provide a written report 
          to the Legislature and the Inspector General at least 
          quarterly regarding these searches, as specified; and (3) 
          require the Inspector General to oversee, at a minimum, 
          CDCR's search of one staff shift per year at each adult 
          institution, in order to ensure the integrity of the 
          process and of the searches, and the accuracy of the 
          reports submitted by CDCR, as specified.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law defines "contraband" in a prison 
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          as "anything which is not permitted, in excess of the 
          maximum quantity permitted, or received or obtained from an 
          unauthorized source."  (15 Cal. Code of Regs. Section 
          3000.)  Possession of a cellular telephone or any other 
          electronic communications device by an inmate is 
          specifically prohibited.  (15 Cal. Code of Regs. Section 
          3000(c)(19).)

          Existing law creates the office of the Inspector General 
          and requires the Inspector General to review departmental 
          policy and procedures, conduct audits of investigatory 
          practices and other audits, be responsible for 
          contemporaneous oversight of internal affairs 
          investigations and the disciplinary process, and conduct 
          investigations of the CDCR, as requested by either the 
          Secretary of the CDCR or a Member of the Legislature, 
          pursuant to the approval of the Inspector General under 
          policies to be developed by the Inspector General.  The 
          Inspector General may, under policies developed by the 
          Inspector General, initiate an investigation or an audit on 
          his/her own accord.  (Penal Code Section 6126(a)(1).)

          This bill requires CDCR to oversee and conduct periodic and 
          random searches of employees and vendors entering the 
          secure perimeter of a state prison under the jurisdiction 
          of the department for contraband. These searches would 
          include random searches of property, personal or otherwise, 
          brought into the prison by those individuals.  CDCR must 
          provide the Inspector General with no less than 24 hours' 
          notice prior to the dates of those random searches the 
          department plans to conduct.

          This bill requires CDCR to provide a written report to the 
          Legislature and the Inspector General at least quarterly 
          detailing the following:

                 The names of the prisons where the searches took 
               place.
                 The dates of the searches.
                 The shifts during which the searches took place.
                 The number of employees searched.
                 The number of vendors searched.
                 The number of cell phones discovered.
                 The number of items of portable computer equipment 

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               found, including, but not limited to, iPods, MP3 
               players, DVD players, CD players, CDs, and portable 
               video game players.
                 Tobacco products found.
                 Illegal substances found, listed by type of 
               substance.

          The report shall include a general comment section for use 
          by the Inspector General and the department to discuss the 
          issues they find relevant to the searches and shall include 
          a section detailing the actions taken as a result of the 
          discovery of contraband possessed by an employee or vendor 
          and the results of any disciplinary process resulting from 
          the discovery of contraband.

          This bill authorizes the Inspector General, or its 
          successor, may oversee, at a minimum, CDCR's search of one 
          staff shift per year at each adult institution, in order to 
          ensure the integrity of the process and of the searches, 
          and the accuracy of the reports submitted pursuant to 
          Section 5040.  Nothing in this paragraph shall be 
          interpreted to allow the Inspector General to direct CDCR 
          regarding when the random searches shall take place, to 
          allow the Inspector General to direct the department 
          regarding how the random searches shall be carried out, or 
          as requiring the Inspector General's approval prior to CDCR 
          conducting the random searches.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/24/11)

          California District Attorney Association
          Friends Committee on Legislation of California
          Life Support Alliance


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office, 
          the number of cell phones confiscated in prison in 2006 was 
          261.  Last year, 8,675 cell phones were confiscated.  That 
          constitutes an increase of 3224 percent.  Recent stories in 
          the news report inmates paying $500 to $1500 per phone.


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          A 2010 KCRA 3 report quoted Avenal spokesman saying inmates 
          with cell phones "can order hits.  They can organize 
          escapes."  An AP story discusses how Mexican drug 
          traffickers call prisons gangs in the United States via 
          cell phones when they "need someone killed or kidnapped or 
          drugs distributed in the United States."  Several news 
          articles.

          The California Senate Rules Committee for the last several 
          years has focused on cell phones entering prisons during 
          the confirmation hearings of CDCR officials.

          In May of 2009, the Office of the Inspector General sent a 
          special report entitled "Inmate Cell Phone Use Endangers 
          Prison Security and Public Safety" to CDCR Secretary 
          Matthew Cate. Among other things the report found, 
          "Inmates' access to cell phone technology facilitates their 
          ability to communicate amongst themselves and their 
          associates outside of prison, to plan prison assaults, plot 
          prison escapes, and orchestrate a myriad of other illegal 
          activities.  In addition, these devices can provide an 
          inmate unrestricted and unmonitored access to the Internet, 
          whereby they can communicate with unsuspecting victims, 
          including minors."

          The report also found that, "In addition to staff, other 
          conduits for smuggling cell phones include visitors, 
          outside accomplices, minimum support facility inmates 
          working outside perimeter fences, and contracted 
          employees."

          In July of 2008 CDCR's Department of Internal Affairs 
          conducted surprise screenings for two days called "Project 
          Disconnect."  During these searches, one employee's vehicle 
          was searched and fifty cell phones, labeled with the 
          inmates' names, were found.  Since November of 2009, CDCR 
          has continued the random once a month searches of employees 
          entering every prison in California with "Operation 
          Disconnect."

          SB 139 codifies the activities of "Operation Disconnect" 
          into law and includes vendors as those subject to the 
          search.  While cell phones are targeted, SB 139 aims to 
          halt all contraband entering prisons.  SB 139 requires the 

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          OIG to oversee the searches to ensure the integrity of the 
          process.  Finally, SB 1066 requires that CDCR and the 
          Office of the Inspector General submit a report to the 
          Legislature detailing the finding of the searches as well 
          as a general comment section.


          RJG:do  5/24/11   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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