BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair AB 1276 (Bloom) - Youth offenders: security placement. Amended: May 13, 2014 Policy Vote: Public Safety 4-2 Urgency: No Mandate: No Hearing Date: June 23, 2014 Consultant: Jolie Onodera This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. Bill Summary: AB 1276 would require the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to conduct a youth offender Institution Classification Committee (ICC) review at reception for every youth offender less than 22 years of age, as specified, and annually thereafter until the offender reaches 25 years of age, for placement consideration at a lower security level facility or in a placement that permits increased access to programming. Fiscal Impact: Ongoing significant costs to CDCR of about $1 million (General Fund) for correctional counselors at five reception centers to conduct ICC reviews for youth offenders. Costs also include staffing for program oversight and administration. Based on 2012 and 2013 data, approximately 4,800 offenders under age 22 are committed to CDCR adult facilities each year. One-time costs to CDCR potentially in excess of $50,000 (General Fund) to revise and adopt regulations pursuant to this measure. Unknown, potentially significant costs (General Fund) for specialized staff training to conduct ICC reviews as specified in this measure. To the extent significant numbers of youth offenders are transitioned to lower security levels and/or benefit from additional programming afforded under this measure could result in future cost savings in lower custody costs, reduced recidivism, and better life outcomes for youth offenders. Background: Existing law generally provides a statutory framework for remanding certain cases involving minors who are 14 years of age and older who are alleged to have committed a crime from the juvenile court to adult criminal court, and AB 1276 (Bloom) Page 1 further provides that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person under the age of 16 years shall be housed in any facility under the jurisdiction of the CDCR. Existing law commences the term of imprisonment upon the actual delivery of a defendant into the custody of the CDCR and requires the place of reception to be an institution under the direction of the Secretary of the CDCR. Existing state regulations require that an inmate be assigned to a facility with a security level which corresponds to specified placement score ranges and establishes classification committees for making these determinations. The findings and declarations of this measure state, "The purpose of this act is to establish a mechanism by which the CDCR will make individual assessments of people entering prison under 22 years of age and classify these individuals at lower custody level facilities whenever possible." Proposed Law: This bill would require the CDCR to provide special classification consideration for every youth offender less than 22 years of age, as follows: Defines "youth offender" as an individual committed to the CDCR who is under 22 years of age. Requires CDCR to conduct a youth offender Institution Classification Committee (ICC) review at reception to provide special classification consideration for every youth offender. Provides that the youth offender ICC shall consist of the staff required by CDCR regulations at any ICC, however, at least one member shall be a CDCR staff member specially trained in conducting the reviews. Provides that training shall include, but not be limited to, adolescent and young adult development and evidence-based interviewing processes employing positive and motivational techniques. Provides that the purpose of the ICC is to meet with the youth offender and assess the readiness of a youth offender for a lower security level or placement permitting increased access to programs and to encourage the youth offender to commit to positive change and self-improvement. Prohibits a youth offender from being classified at the security level corresponding with his or her placement score if his or her in-custody behavior indicates he or she can be safely placed at a lower security level. Requires a youth offender to be classified for placement at a AB 1276 (Bloom) Page 2 lower security level facility than corresponds with his or her placement score or in a placement that permits increased access to programs based on consideration various factors, including recent in-custody behavior while housed in juvenile or adult facilities and family or community ties supportive of rehabilitation. Requires CDCR to transfer a youth offender to a lower security facility if the CDCR determines, based on the totality of the circumstances, that the youth offender would not increase the safety risk of the lower security level facility. Provides that if CDCR determines that a youth offender is ready for a housing placement permitting increased access to programs, the youth offender shall be transferred to that housing. If a youth offender demonstrates he or she is a safety risk to inmates, staff, or the public, and does not otherwise demonstrate a commitment to rehabilitation, the youth offender shall be reclassified and placed at a security level that is consistent with CDCR regulations and procedures. Requires youth offenders who are denied a lower security level at their initial ICC reviews or who did not qualify for placement permitting increased access to programs due to previous incarceration history to be eligible to have their placement reconsidered at annual reviews until reaching 25 years of age. Requires CDCR to consider whether the offender would benefit from lower level facility placement or placement permitting increased access to programs if at an annual review it is determined the offender has had no serious rule violations for one year. Requires the CDCR to review and, as necessary, revise existing regulations and adopt new regulations regarding classification determinations made pursuant to this measure, and provide for training and staff. Includes uncodified legislative findings and declarations. Staff Comments: The CDCR anticipates a need for additional staffing in order to provide the specialized classification assessments required at reception for all inmates less than 22 years of age committed to CDCR adult facilities. Based on 2012 and 2013 data, approximately 4,800 offenders under age 22 are committed to CDCR adult facilities each year (about 400 youth offenders each month). Since every offender does not currently require an ICC review at reception, and the provisions of this bill require staff to be specially trained in conducting the AB 1276 (Bloom) Page 3 reviews, including but not limited to adolescent and young adult development, and evidence-based interviewing processes employing positive and motivational techniques, the CDCR could incur ongoing resources costs of about $1 million (General Fund) for one additional correctional counselor at each of the five reception centers to conduct ICC reviews. This estimate also includes one position each for overall program oversight and administration. This bill requires the CDCR to review and revise existing regulations regarding classification determinations, and provide for training for staff. The revision and adoption of regulations is estimated to result in one-time costs to CDCR potentially in excess of $50,000 (General Fund). Costs for staff training in the area of "adolescent and young adult development" are unknown at this time, but could be in the range of $50,000 to $100,000. Training in the area of motivational interviewing (MI), an evidence-based positive interviewing technique that is currently used in the CDCR juvenile facilities, is already being conducted at CDCR and is not estimated to result in additional costs. To the extent significant numbers of youth offenders are transitioned to lower security levels and/or benefit from additional programming afforded under this measure could result in future cost savings of an unknown but potentially significant amount in lower custody costs, reduced recidivism, and better life outcomes for these youth offenders. Recommended Amendments: The author may wish to consider an amendment to delay commencement of the ICC reviews in order to provide CDCR with sufficient time to revise regulations, acquire the necessary resources and provide staff training to properly conduct the ICC reviews. The provisions of this bill require the ICC reviews to be conducted at reception based on data of past behavior while in custody. Prior custody could include time served in county jail, juvenile halls, or potentially CDCR juvenile facilities. While CDCR routinely receives prior disciplinary history and program participation information from CDCR juvenile facilities, information is not always transmitted by local agencies when a youth offender is transferred from local to state custody. The absence of this information would potentially be a significant barrier to enabling CDCR to justifiably reclassify youth offenders to a lower security level. The author may wish to AB 1276 (Bloom) Page 4 consider an amendment requiring the CDCR to request this information be transmitted by the local agency upon transfer of the offender to state custody. Staff also recommends the following technical amendment on page 3, in line 39: delete "youthful" and replace with "youth".