BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 1276
          Author:   Bloom (D), et al.
          Amended:  8/18/14 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  4-2, 6/10/14
          AYES:  Hancock, De León, Liu, Steinberg
          NOES:  Anderson, Knight
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Mitchell

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-1, 8/14/14
          AYES:  De León, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NOES:  Gaines
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Walters
           
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not relevant


           SUBJECT  :    Youthful offenders:  prison

           SOURCE  :     Anti-Recidivism Coalition
                      Human Rights Watch
                      Los Angeles District Attorneys Office


           DIGEST  :    This bill requires the Department of Corrections and  
          Rehabilitation (CDCR) to conduct a youth offender Institution  
          Classification Committee (ICC) review at reception to provide  
          special classification consideration for every youth offender  
          under 22 years of age, as specified.

           ANALYSIS  :    
                                                                CONTINUED





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          Existing law:

           1. Provides a statutory framework for remanding certain cases  
             involving minors who are 14 years of age and older and  
             alleged to have committed a crime from the juvenile court to  
             adult criminal court.  

           2. Provides that no person under the age of 14 years shall be  
             committed to a state prison or be transferred thereto from  
             any other institution. 

           3. 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 CDCR.  

          This bill:

           1. Requires CDCR to conduct a youth offender ICC review at  
             reception to provide special classification consideration for  
             every youth offender.  

           2. Defines "youth offenders" to be individuals committed to  
             CDCR who are under 22 years of age. 

           3. Requires that the youth offender ICC 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.  

           4. Requires that training include, but not be limited to,  
             adolescent and young adult development and evidence-based  
             interviewing processes employing positive and motivational  
             techniques.

           5. Provides that the purpose of the youth offender ICC review  
             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.  

           6. Requires that a youth offender be considered for placement  
             at a lower security level that corresponds with his/her  







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             classification score in a facility that permits increased  
             access to programs based on the ICC review and factors  
             including, but not limited to, the following:

             A.   Recent in-custody behavior while housed in juvenile or  
               adult facilities.

             B.   Demonstrated efforts of progress toward self-improvement  
               in juvenile or adult facilities.

             C.   Family or community ties supportive of rehabilitation.

             D.   Evidence of commitment to working toward  
               self-improvement with a goal of being a law-abiding member  
               of society upon release.

           1. Provides that if CDCR determines, based on the totality of  
             the circumstances, the youth offender may be appropriately  
             placed at a lower security level, CDCR shall transfer the  
             youth offender to a lower security level facility.  If the  
             youth offender is denied a lower security level, then he/she  
             shall be considered for placement in a facility that permits  
             increased access to programs.

           2. Requires that if CDCR determines a youth offender may  
             appropriately be placed in a facility permitting increased  
             access to programs, the youth offender shall be transferred  
             to such a facility.  If the youth offender demonstrates  
             he/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 department  
             regulations and procedures.

           3. Provides that a youth offender who at his/her initial Youth  
             Offender ICC review is denied a lower security level than  
             corresponds with his or her placement score or did not  
             qualify for placement permitting increased access to programs  
             due to previous incarceration history and was placed in the  
             highest security level shall nevertheless be eligible to have  
             his or her placement reconsidered (as specified) at his or  
             her annual review until reaching 25 years of age.

           4. Requires that if at an annual review it is determined that  







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             the youth offender has had no serious rule violations for one  
             year, CDCR shall consider whether the youth would benefit  
             from placement in a lower level facility or placement  
             permitting increased access to programs.

           5. Requires CDCR to review and, as necessary, revise existing  
             regulations and adopt new regulations regarding  
             classification determinations made pursuant to this section,  
             and provide for training for staff.

           6. Makes legislative findings and declarations concerning  
             youthful offenders, as specified.

           7. Provides that the provisions become operative July 1, 2015.

           Comments
           
          The author states:

             In California, younger people between the ages of 18 and 22  
             entering the adult prison system are more likely than older  
             prisoners to be sent directly to the highest security prison  
             yards with the most dangerous inmates and the least amount of  
             programming.  The result is a lost opportunity for the state  
             to reduce recidivism. 

             Research shows that incarcerated youth are especially  
             vulnerable to physical and sexual assault and psychological  
             harm including depression and suicide.  At this age, youth  
             are still maturing and are highly sensitive to both positive  
             and negative influences.  Their environment has a huge impact  
             on their development and life choices.  If youth entering the  
             adult prison system are placed in the most dangerous  
             environments, odds are that they will not choose a lifestyle  
             that leads them away from bad choices and instead sets them  
             back on a path to reoffend or remain in prison longer.   
             However, studies also show that positive influences have just  
             as much of an impact on this age group - the availability of  
             education and vocational training in prison, particularly for  
             youth, can significantly reduce recidivism and set an  
             incarcerated youth on a better path.

             AB 1276 establishes a process that directs CDCR to utilize  
             the already existing Youth Offender Institutional  







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             Classification Committee, which assesses youth for placement  
             at their adult facility, to place a youth between the ages of  
             18-22 whenever possible at a lower custody level with the  
             most programming available.  This will also afford an  
             opportunity for the Committee to encourage youth to commit to  
             positive change and self-improvement.  AB 1276 will take  
             prison's most vulnerable and malleable population and give  
             those youth a better opportunity of choosing a path that  
             leads to success outside of prison if they are released.

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


          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

           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 bill could result  
            in future cost savings in lower custody costs, reduced  
            recidivism, and better life outcomes for youth offenders.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/13/14)

          Anti-Recidivism Coalition (co-source)
          Human Rights Watch (co-source)
          Los Angeles District Attorney's Office (co-source)
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          California Communities United Institute







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          Children's Defense Fund of California


          JG:k  8/17/14   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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