BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                             Senator Loni Hancock, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:    AB 920        Hearing Date:    June 14, 2016    
          
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          |Author:    |Gipson                                               |
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          |Version:   |September 3, 2015                                    |
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          |Urgency:   |Yes                    |Fiscal:    |No               |
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          |Consultant:|JRD                                                  |
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                    Subject:  Jails:  County Inmate Welfare Funds



          HISTORY

          Source:   Los Angeles Sheriff's Department 

          Prior Legislation: AB 1445 (Mitchell) - Chapter 233, Statutes of  
          2012
                       AB 2574 (Emmerson) - Chapter 16, Statutes of 2008
                       SB 718 (Scott) - Chapter 251, Statutes of 2007


          Support:  California State Association of Counties; California  
          State Sheriffs' Association

          Opposition:None known

          Assembly Floor Vote:                 78 - 0


          PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to create a program that authorizes  
          the sheriff or county officer responsible for operating jails of  
          the Counties of Alameda, Kern, Los Angeles, Marin, Napa, Orange,  
          Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Diego, San Luis  
          Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Ventura to  







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          spend money from the inmate welfare fund for the purpose of  
          assisting indigent inmates with the reentry process within 30  
          days after the inmate's release from the county jail or other  
          adult detention facility, as specified. 
          
          Existing law authorizes a county sheriff to establish, maintain  
          and operate a store in connection with the county jail and for  
          this purpose may purchase confectionary, tobacco and tobacco  
          users' supplies, postage and writing materials, and toilet  
          articles and supplies and sell these goods, articles, and  
          supplies for cash to inmates.  (Penal Code  4025(a).)

          Existing law provides that the sale prices of the articles  
          offered for sale at the store shall be fixed by the sheriff.   
          Any profit shall be deposited in the inmate welfare fund to be  
          kept in the treasury of the county.  (Penal Code  4025(b).)

          Existing law requires that 10 percent of all gross sales of  
          inmate hobbycraft be deposited in the inmate welfare fund.   
          (Penal Code  4025(c).)

          Existing law provides that any money, refund, rebate, or  
          commission received from a telephone company or pay telephone  
          provider shall be deposited in the inmate welfare fund when the  
          money, refund, rebate, or commission is attributable to the use  
          of pay telephones which are primarily used by inmates while  
          incarcerated.  (Penal Code  4025(d).)

          Existing law provides that the money and property deposited in  
          the inmate welfare fund shall be expended by the sheriff  
          primarily for the benefit, education, and welfare of the inmates  
          confined within the jail.  Any funds that are not needed for the  
          welfare of the inmates may be expended for the maintenance of  
          county jail facilities.  Maintenance of county jail facilities  
          may include, but is not limited to the salary and benefits of  
          personnel used in the programs to benefit the inmates including,  
          but not limited to, education, drug and alcohol treatment,  
          welfare, library, accounting, and other programs deemed  
          appropriate by the sheriff.  Inmate welfare funds shall not be  
          used to pay required county expenses of confining inmates in a  
          local detention system, such as meals, clothing, housing, or  
          medical services or expenses, except that inmate welfare funds  
          may be used to augment those required county expenses as  
          determined by the sheriff to be in the best interests of  








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          inmates.  An itemized report of these expenditures shall be  
          submitted annually to the board of supervisors.  (Penal Code   
          4025(e).)

          Existing law authorizes the sheriff to expend money from the  
          inmate welfare fund to provide indigent inmates prior to the  
          release from the county jail or other adult correctional  
          facility under the sheriff's jurisdiction with essential  
          clothing and transportation expenses.  (Penal Code  4025(i).)

          Existing law creates a pilot program in the counties of Alameda,  
          Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San  
          Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and  
          Stanislaus.  In each county the sheriff, or, in the County of  
          Santa Clara, the chief of correction, may expend money from the  
          inmate welfare fund to provide indigent inmates after release  
          from the county jail or any other adult detention facility under  
          the jurisdiction of the sheriff, or, in the County of Santa  
          Clara, the chief of correction, assistance with the reentry  
          process within 14 days after the inmate's release.  The  
          assistance provided may include, but is not limited to, work  
          placement, counseling, obtaining proper identification,  
          education, and housing.  This pilot program will expire on  
          January 1, 2015, unless extended.  (Penal Code  4025.5  
          (sunseted January 1, 2015).)

          This bill creates a program that authorizes the sheriff or  
          county officer responsible for operating jails of the Counties  
          of Alameda, Kern, Los Angeles, Marin, Napa, Orange, Sacramento,  
          San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa  
          Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Ventura to spend money  
          from the inmate welfare fund for the purpose of assisting  
          indigent inmates with the reentry process within 30 days after  
          the inmate's release from the county jail or other adult  
          detention facility. 

          This bill specifies that the assistance provided may include  
          work placement, counseling, obtaining proper identification,  
          education, and housing. 

          The bill specifies that money from the inmate welfare fund shall  
          not be used under the program to provide services that are  
          required to be provided by the sheriff or county, as specified. 









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          This bill requires, if a county elects to participate in the  
          pilot program, a county sheriff or county officer responsible  
          for operating a jail to include specified additional information  
          in the itemized report of expenditures to the board of  
          supervisors, including the number of inmates the program served.

          This bill makes legislative findings and declarations as to the  
          necessity of a special statute for the counties contained in the  
          legislation and declares that it is to take effect immediately  
          as an urgency statute.

                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION

          For the past several years this Committee has scrutinized  
          legislation referred to its jurisdiction for any potential  
          impact on prison overcrowding.  Mindful of the United States  
          Supreme Court ruling and federal court orders relating to the  
          state's ability to provide a constitutional level of health care  
          to its inmate population and the related issue of prison  
          overcrowding, this Committee has applied its "ROCA" policy as a  
          content-neutral, provisional measure necessary to ensure that  
          the Legislature does not erode progress in reducing prison  
          overcrowding.   

          On February 10, 2014, the federal court ordered California to  
          reduce its in-state adult institution population to 137.5% of  
          design capacity by February 28, 2016, as follows:   

                 143% of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014;
                 141.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2015; and,
                 137.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2016. 

          In December of 2015 the administration reported that as "of  
          December 9, 2015, 112,510 inmates were housed in the State's 34  
          adult institutions, which amounts to 136.0% of design bed  
          capacity, and 5,264 inmates were housed in out-of-state  
          facilities.  The current population is 1,212 inmates below the  
          final court-ordered population benchmark of 137.5% of design bed  
          capacity, and has been under that benchmark since February  
          2015."  (Defendants' December 2015 Status Report in Response to  
          February 10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge  
          Court, Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  One  
          year ago, 115,826 inmates were housed in the State's 34 adult  
          institutions, which amounted to 140.0% of design bed capacity,  








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          and 8,864 inmates were housed in out-of-state facilities.   
          (Defendants' December 2014 Status Report in Response to February  
          10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge Court, Coleman  
          v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  
           
          While significant gains have been made in reducing the prison  
          population, the state must stabilize these advances and  
          demonstrate to the federal court that California has in place  
          the "durable solution" to prison overcrowding "consistently  
          demanded" by the court.  (Opinion Re: Order Granting in Part and  
          Denying in Part Defendants' Request For Extension of December  
          31, 2013 Deadline, NO. 2:90-cv-0520 LKK DAD (PC), 3-Judge Court,  
          Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (2-10-14).  The Committee's  
          consideration of bills that may impact the prison population  
          therefore will be informed by the following questions:

              Whether a proposal erodes a measure which has contributed  
               to reducing the prison population;
              Whether a proposal addresses a major area of public safety  
               or criminal activity for which there is no other  
               reasonable, appropriate remedy;
              Whether a proposal addresses a crime which is directly  
               dangerous to the physical safety of others for which there  
               is no other reasonably appropriate sanction; 
              Whether a proposal corrects a constitutional problem or  
               legislative drafting error; and
              Whether a proposal proposes penalties which are  
               proportionate, and cannot be achieved through any other  
               reasonably appropriate remedy.


          COMMENTS

          1.  Need for This Legislation 

          According to the author: 

               While existing law currently allows the sheriff or  
               county officer operating jails to spend money from the  
               inmate welfare fund to provide released inmates with  
               clothes and transportation expenses, it does not help  
               them with work placement, counseling, obtaining proper  
               forms of identification, education or housing. 









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               AB 920 would require and allow the sheriff of county  
               jail to use monies from the Inmate Welfare Fund to  
               provide assistance in the form of work placement,  
               counseling, obtaining proper identification,  
               education, and housing to indigent inmates within 30  
               days after the inmate's release from the county jail  
               or other adult detention facility. The bill would  
               require a county sheriff or county officer responsible  
               for operating a jail to include specified additional  
               information in the itemized report of expenditures to  
               the board of supervisors, including the number of  
               inmates the program served.
          
          2.  Use of Inmate Welfare Fund Money for Reentry Services
          
          An inmate welfare fund (IWF) may be established in each county  
          jail, as specified.  (Penal Code  4025.)  The purpose of an IWF  
          is to fund programs that help inmates transition back into the  
          community.  Programs include education, drug and alcohol  
          treatment, library service, and counseling.  (See Penal Code   
          4025(e).)  In accordance with the goal of transitioning inmates,  
          money from an IWF may also be used to cover essential clothing  
          and transportation expenses for an indigent inmate prior to  
          release, at the discretion of the Sheriff.  (Penal Code   
          4025(i).) 

          The money in the inmate welfare fund is generated by sale of  
          commissary items as well as "any money, refund, rebate, or  
          commission received from a telephone company or pay phone  
          provider when use is attributable to the inmates during  
          incarceration."  (Penal Code  4025(d).)

          In 2007, SB 718 (Scott) (Chapter 251, Stats. of 2007) was  
          enacted into law creating a pilot program to allow sheriffs in  
          specified counties to use funds from the inmate welfare fund, "?  
          to provide indigent inmates, after release from the county jail  
          or any other adult detention facility under the jurisdiction of  
          the sheriff, assistance with the reentry process within 14 days  
          after the inmate's release.  The assistance provided may  
          include, but is not limited to, work placement, counseling,  
          obtaining proper identification, education, and housing."   
          (Penal Code  4025.5.)  Absent further legislative action, this  
          provision of law was to remain in effect only until
          January 1, 2013.








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          In 2008, Kern, San Bernardino, and Santa Clara Counties were  
          added to the pilot program allowing the Sheriffs in those  
          counties (or in Santa Clara the Director of Corrections) to  
          utilize inmate welfare funds for reentry services within 14 days  
          of the inmates' release.  (AB 2574 (Emmerson), Chapter 16,  
          Stats. of 2008.)

          The legislature, in 2012, extended pilot for two years to  
          January 1, 2015, added the counties of Marin, Napa, San Luis  
          Obispo, and Ventura to this pilot program, extended the period  
          of time in which inmate welfare fund money could be used for  
          reentry purposes from 14 to 30 days after the inmate's release,  
          and added reporting requirements.  (AB 1445 (Mitchell), Chapter  
          233, Stats. of 2012.)  The program, thus, sunseted on January 1,  
          2015. 

          This legislation would reinstate and make this program  
          permanent.  It would, additionally, allow specified counties to  
          use IWF funds to provide indigent inmates assistance with the  
          reentry process within 30 days after the inmate's release.  It  
          would allow these counties to use the funds to assist these  
          inmates with work placement, counseling, obtaining proper  
          identification, education and housing.  The legislation,  
          additionally, requires any sheriff or county officer that uses  
          IWF funds for this purpose to file an annual report with the  
          county board of supervisors that includes: 
               
               (1) How much money was spent pursuant to this section.
               (2) The number of inmates the program served.
               (3) The types of assistance for which the funds were used.
               (4) The average length of time an inmate used the program.

          Given that this legislation does not require the listed counties  
          to use IWF funds for reentry, and that there will likely be  
          numerous pieces of legislation in coming years to expand the  
          authority provided in this bill to other counties, members may  
          wish to consider an amendment applying the provisions of this  
          legislation to all counties.

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