Board of Corrections Meeting
Thursday, January 20, 2000
Board of Corrections
660 Bercut Drive
Sacramento, CA 95814
Executive Director Thom McConnell asked that roll be called to establish a quorum. Answering present were Greg Zermeño, Susan Saxe-Clifford, Tom Sawyer, Robert Presley, Mimi Silbert, Cal Terhune, and Tom Soto. Noting the quorum, Chairman Robert Presley convened the meeting at 10:05 a.m.
Approval of the Minutes, November 18, 1999, Board of Corrections Meeting (Agenda Item A)
A motion to adopt the minutes of the November 18, 1999, Board of Corrections meeting was made by Mr. Soto.
Mr. McConnell noted one correction on page 2, Agenda Item B, first paragraph. The last two lines should read, "[Tom] Sawyer’s attendance, on the same date, at the California State Sheriffs’ Association Board meeting," rather than "Executive Directors meeting."
The motion was amended by Mr. Soto to include this change and seconded by Dr. Silbert. The motion carried.
Juvenile Crime Enforcement and Accountability Challenge Grants (Agenda Item B)
Challenge Grant I and II Update
Field Representative Fred Morawcznski provided an update on the two Challenge Grant programs.
Activities Since the November 1999 Board Meeting:
JCE&ACG I Annual Monitoring
Just prior to the last Board meeting annual monitoring visits were conducted and reports prepared for 10 of the 14 Challenge I counties, including: Alameda, Contra Costa, Humboldt, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tehama, and Ventura. Since the November Board meeting, annual monitoring visits with the remaining four Challenge I counties, including Orange, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara, were conducted. All were deemed in compliance with their contractual requirements.
JCE&ACG I&II Quarterly Invoices Submitted
The first quarter FY 1999-00 invoices were due November 15, 1999. Counties have submitted their invoices, and payments are being made within approximately 10 days of receiving the invoice. For Challenge I: to date, of the $45,883,000 encumbered for demonstration projects, $25,254,436 has been invoiced. By the close of the three-year program, Mr. Morawcznski anticipated approximately $5.5 million of the initial funding would remain to be applied toward the one-year extension granted in the 1999 Budget Act. The Chief Probation Officers Association of California is working with the Legislature to secure the final $11 million of additional funding requirements for the extension. For Challenge II, begun in July 1999: to date, of the $56,093,000 encumbered for demonstration projects, $417,617 has been invoiced.
JCE&ACG II Project Implementation and Site Visits
Staff visited nine of the 17 Challenge II projects prior to the November Board meeting to observe progress toward implementation and provide technical assistance as required. The remaining eight, including Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Solano, were visited since the November meeting. With the exception of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Francisco, all of the counties have begun receiving minors into their programs. Orange and San Francisco Counties are on target and scheduled to begin later this year. Los Angeles County, with an intensive supervision program employing wide use of community-based organizations, has experienced initial technical problems with contracting; however, they expect to be operating by mid-February 2000. San Bernardino County, housing hard-to-place minors in a former mental health facility, has encountered construction difficulties, but also expects to be operating by mid-February. Both counties provide weekly and bimonthly action plans to Board staff.
Mr. Morawcznski reported that the draft Local Action Plan Report, summarizing participation of the 34 counties (representing 88% of the state’s population) involved in the planning process, was finalized in late November 1999 and made available on the Board’s web site. The report presents a statewide look at gaps in services provided to juveniles at the local level ranging from prevention to incarceration. The most significant gaps are in three areas: intermediate sanctions, substance abuse programs, and educational and training programs.
Staff will continue to monitor implementation of Challenge II projects; review the Challenge I&II semi-annual reports and 2nd quarter FY 1999-00 invoices, due February 15, 2000; prepare for the project managers’ meeting to be held in San Diego on March 1-3, 2000; amend existing Challenge I contracts to extend the grant period to June 30, 2001; and provide technical assistance as required for all projects.
Presentation by San Francisco County
Mr. Morawcznski introduced Kimiko Burton-Cruz, Director of the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Council in San Francisco, and Challenge I Project Manager Carol Kizziah of the Delancey Street Foundation. Ms. Burton-Cruz thanked the Board and announced the presence of two program participants, Sylvia and Corey, who would later relay their first-hand experiences in the program. She then directed the Board’s attention to a display of photographs depicting activities, both recreational and skills-related, in the Life Learning Academy, one of the county’s Challenge programs. She said she was glad to hear that San Francisco was not alone in experiencing start-up difficulties, but that, in spite of the late start, San Francisco now exceeds their projected numbers.
Ms. Burton-Cruz said that San Francisco was very ambitious at the beginning of Challenge I. More than simply placing probation officers in schools and hiring truant officers, they wanted to change the whole system to meet the intent of the legislation. This proved to be quite a challenge as the system was so archaic and inefficient. However, with the collaborative participation of the probation department, school district, public health, police department, human services, juvenile court, district attorney, public defender, sheriff, fire department, community-based organizations, parents, youths and former juvenile offenders, in addition to Board member Silbert and the Mayor’s office, San Francisco has set aside separate domains to come together and speak with one voice to serve youths. Although some difficulty arises at times, all are working together and have helped over 1,000 youths.
Ms. Kizziah described the six components identified through a needs assessment to close the most critical gaps in San Francisco’s juvenile justice system. She presented preliminary evaluation results and predicted a significant impact as a result of the collaborative effort described by Ms. Burton-Cruz.
Early Risk and Resiliency
With gang issues a serious problem, this program identifies and intervenes with youths as young as 10 who demonstrate early signs of behavioral issues. Program staff administer a strengths-based test to youths identified as at-risk due to school or family problems. Youths are then referred to programs to enhance those strengths and address their risk factors.
Community Assessment and Referral Center (CARC)
This is a central intake site where arrested youths are brought, assessed by providers, and referred for appropriate services. It is an alternative to juvenile hall open to all ten police districts. Over 90% of youths are assigned a case manager and a mentor. Projected to serve 400 youths, CARC currently serves well over 500. Around 300 cases were closed, 80% successfully, which means they went through the court process and were referred to existing community-based organizations.
Chairman Presley asked what screening process was used regarding the offense committed. Ms. Kizziah said the program accepted those with a middle level offense; i.e., youths admonished or diverted by the police do not go to the assessment center; and those arrested for homicide or rape go directly to juvenile hall. All other cases (drugs, robbery, burglary, theft, etc.) are accepted. Ms. Kizziah noted that some youths with minor offenses might have had numerous contacts with probation, so the level of history is considered as well. Previously, these youths were released from juvenile hall within one to three days following a needs assessment, but without any attachment to existing services. The assessment center provides that contact to prevent reoffending.
Bayview Safe Haven
Housed in an unused, donated park and recreation facility, this program attempts to clean up the neighborhood around the park facility to make it safe for use and to offer an after-school program with recreational, vocational, and educational programming. In psychosocial assessments of participants, 88% report less violence, 72% report improved grades, and 80% report increased involvement with positive activities.
With the Mission District, and especially Mission Street, identified as having the highest juvenile crime rate, particularly between the after-school hours of 3:00-6:00 p.m., this program focuses on providing a safe thoroughfare for youths to make their way between home, school, and community organizations. This is accomplished by increased law enforcement presence along the Mission Corridor, with additional foot patrol officers during the high juvenile crime window after school hours. It also provides a middle school program that serves as a link to other community-based programs. The police, probation, and community-based organizations also conduct a serious offender project to randomly monitor, at night, the most serious offenders in the Mission District.
Life Learning Academy and Girls Residential Center
The Girls Residential Center is a small, but very important program. Previously, there were no local programs for court-adjudicated girls in San Francisco that were comparable to those for boys. All girls in this program also attend the Life Learning Academy, which is a San Francisco Unified School District charter school, extended-day program for both boys and girls. Class size is small, with a ratio of six students to one teacher to allow for the needed individual attention. It is modeled after the Delancey Street Foundation with high expectations for academic performance, vocational skills, and behavior. The project-based curriculum involves the students applying their learned math concepts, for example, toward actual school renovation projects; i.e., plumbing, electrical, construction, etc.
Preliminary analyses indicate profound impacts on youths. Prior to the Academy, only 11% were enrolled in and regularly attended school; today, 100% are enrolled and regularly attend. Their grade point average (GPA) before Academy was 0.5; after Academy it is 2.6. Grade levels have risen an average of four grade levels by this second full year of operation. Pre- and post-interviews reveal statistically significant increases in orientation toward school, perceived social supports, orientation toward conflict, self-worth, orientation toward community service, perceived safety of environment, emotional well-being, family functioning, and use of healthy anger management skills. Ms. Kizziah introduced Sylvia Lacayo and Corey Harris as program participants to provide their perspectives on the program.
Corey said he was a student in the Life Learning Academy who had gone from being a juvenile delinquent with a GPA of 0.85 to a GPA of 3.85, from leaving school at second period for drug use to being in school every day, being depended upon, being a group leader, council member, and a part of a school that he cares about. He looks forward to getting his diploma from the Life Learning Academy. At his former high school, J.J. Macateer, he never thought about high school or college or his life. Today, 12 colleges are recruiting him, six offering scholarships, and three offering full scholarships. He has a support system and is a part of a positive environment.
Corey credits Safe Haven with initiating a change in him during his sophomore year at Macateer. He realized he must set his priorities right. Ms. Burton-Cruz and Ms. Kizziah, along with a neighbor, Ms. Goodman, introduced him to the Life Learning Academy as an alternative to Macateer with its 75% dropout rate, 85% class cutting rate, and 50% graduation rate. He realized he could not get the help he needed at a school with inadequate supplies and equipment, a ratio of 45 students to one teacher, and more students in the halls than in the classrooms. Until Ms. Goodman told him about Safe Haven, Corey was unaware of a program so close to his home that could offer him the help he needed. He had been aware only of Delancey Street, as his father had attended that program for four years. At Safe Haven, as his attendance improved and his GPA rose, he was introduced to the Life Learning Academy and its programs.
Today, Corey is a student planning to attend college, and three San Francisco law firms are interested in him for secretarial work. He has a future, and he thanked Safe Haven and CARC for enabling him to have that future. Corey also thanked the Board for funding CARC and other programs for former juvenile delinquents who want to turn their lives around and get a better start.
Sylvia is also a student at the Life Learning Academy from the Girls Residential Center, having come through CARC at the school level. Currently 16 years old, she was a drug addict at 12 who did not attend school and did not even have a GPA. She hated her teachers and beat them up. She was a gang member who hung out on the streets and beat up people. After two years at the Academy, Sylvia is no longer a gang member, she loves her teachers and all those who work with her, and she has been "clean" for several months. She never believed a program could change her, and that she could have a future, as she had considered herself a "big, bad girl." Today, Sylvia focuses on her education and her future, all because of the Life Learning Academy. She still makes mistakes, but really appreciates her principal for continuing to help her overcome the remnants of her "nasty child" behavior. She especially appreciates CARC for seeing through her smoke screen and starting her on this positive path.
Chairman Presley thanked both Sylvia and Corey for coming and sharing their stories. He asked Ms. Burton-Cruz how representative they were of the 1,000 plus participants. She said they were very representative and very honest. The program strives to not only change their lives, but get them to the point where they can say, "I was a nasty child, I still make mistakes, but I’m working on it." Two years ago, Sylvia would have said she was not doing anything wrong, that staff were the ones with the problem, and that she was fine. Sylvia has changed to the point where she was recently awarded Employee of the Year by her employer, Ben & Jerry’s.
Ms. Burton-Cruz said these success stories are what make all the multiple difficulties of setting up the program worth it. Sylvia being named employee of the year and Corey being recruited by colleges were beyond their comprehension only two years ago. School is the most dramatic change in the process – simply to go from not attending to attending. Dr. Silbert noted the changes are all the more remarkable because the youths in the program are not merely shoplifters, but serious youthful offenders. Ms. Burton-Cruz thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve these youths.
Mr. McConnell also thanked Sylvia and Corey for appearing. He said he realized how difficult it could be to speak before any group, let alone an official, serious-looking board, and that they did a great job.
Ms. Burton-Cruz reported briefly on San Francisco’s Challenge II project. She said they are on schedule, RFPs will be mailed January 21, and operations should begin April 1.
Federal and State Construction Grants – Consent Items (Agenda Item C)
Deputy Director Toni Hafey advised the Board of ministerial staff decisions on state and/or federally funded construction grants and listed minor project changes including timeline changes, budget changes, and minor scope changes. She noted that two counties were reverting funds because bids were coming in for less than anticipated, and some counties were able to add a few beds as designs were finalized. She provided the Board a list of 21 separate staff-approved changes. She noted the process was consistent with the Board-approved policy pursuant to the Penal Code, which allows for delegation to staff for these specific situations. The policy was designed to expedite project implementation timelines. There were no questions from Board members.
Federal Violent Offender Incarceration / Truth-in-Sentencing Grant – Update and Follow-Up on San Joaquin County (Agenda Item D)
Ms. Hafey said this agenda item was a follow-up to the last Board action at the November 1999 Board meeting and provides an update on availability of Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2000 Violent Offender Incarceration/Truth-in-Sentencing (VOI/TIS) construction grant funds. It also addresses the issue of San Joaquin County’s decision on ability to proceed on an adult jail project with an available grant amount of up to $284,993.
Ms. Hafey directed the Board’s attention to a letter from San Joaquin County requesting that the reduced funding of $284,993 be offered to those further down the list of adult corrections projects as it may benefit another county to a far greater degree than San Joaquin. They further indicated they wish to seek additional consideration for any potential FFY 2000 VOI/TIS funds and that consideration be given to keeping the existing list in effect through FFY 2000.
Initially, staff had recommended that all of the reverted dollars for adult construction projects be combined with any future dollars that might be made available in FFY 2000. Since then, two other counties notified the Board that, with California’s currently favorable economy, they might be able to proceed with construction of some beds. Therefore, staff’s recommendation has been amended to direct staff to survey counties listed on Attachment B* to determine whether any county can proceed at full project scope with available federal grant funds ($284,993) plus any reverted funds from adult projects made available due to project bids less than anticipated by the counties ($62,695 for a total available of $347,688), and to report back to the Board with a recommended proposal at the March 16, 2000, meeting.
*San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Merced, Tulare, and Imperial
A motion to adopt staff’s recommendations was made by Dr. Saxe-Clifford and seconded by Mr. Sawyer. The motion carried.
Progress on Federal and State Construction Grant Projects (Agenda Item E)
Ms. Hafey provided an update on the progress of construction grant projects and displayed slides illustrating the statewide distribution of funds to 45 counties. She noted that nearly $302 million has been allocated statewide: $272,278,933 for juvenile facility construction and $29,701,361 for adult facility construction. These figures pale in comparison to the requests received, which are nearly eight times higher.
Juvenile Construction Projects
A total of 39 counties received funding for 3,205 beds in 60 separate projects. The cost range is from $1,000 to $40.5 million for 18 new facilities impacting 20 counties. (The $1,000 represents the Merced County project discussed at the November 1999 Board meeting that will leverage a number of beds as well as being part of a phase project.) Currently, 437 beds are under construction and 28 beds are completed. The projects range from small ones such as the 24-bed project in Trinity County and 34 beds in Del Norte County up to the 420-bed facility in Ventura County. The average cost per bed for new construction is $99,655, which served as the basis for the analysis done by the Legislature to set the dollar amount for bed construction under the last award process.
Mr. Zermeño asked if a breakdown of the new juvenile beds was available; i.e., how many program beds, how many temporary detention beds, etc. Ms. Hafey said that could be supplied. Essentially, they are combinations of beds including program, and are all rated beds for housing and programming. Mr. Zermeño specifically wondered about short-term programming profiled with short-term stays versus long-term says with additional programming.
Local Adult Construction Projects
A total of 20 counties received funding for 1,528 beds in 29 separate projects. Some 3,175 beds will remain active due to safety, security, and deferred maintenance provided under these projects, including security electronic systems, locking systems, perimeter security upgrades. Currently, 727 beds are under construction and 147 beds are completed. The average cost per bed for new adult construction is $52,500, lower than the juvenile rate because the adult projects are actually adding housing generally to facilities with an extensive infrastructure planned for such expansion.
Projects Completed by 12-31-99
Adult – 147 beds and security modifications $3,037,515
Fresno, Santa Barbara, Solano, Tuolumne
Juvenile – 28 beds 2,000,000
Solano County _________
These are all beds that have been completed and closed by the Board with on-site evaluations. They are fully staffed and operational, and the counties have submitted their audits.
Adult and Juvenile Available Funds and Projections
Total available $301,980,294
Expenditure 12-31-99 – 21,716,402
Ms. Hafey believed some of the projections might be a bit optimistic due to start-up delays and time extensions that may occur.
Dr. Saxe-Clifford asked about the possibility of other funds due to the extreme need. Ms. Hafey said federal funding was anticipated at over $423 million under the Violent Offender Incarceration Grant nationwide, with California receiving around 9% or $38 million. She understands that to be a fairly good, conservative estimate. Should that be included in the Budget for 2000-01, up to 15% could be earmarked for adult construction and 85% would be for juveniles under exigent circumstances if the Legislature makes that declaration, which would be consistent with legislation carried by Assemblymember Carole Migden two years ago. She further understands the Chief Probation Officers Association is in active discussion with Senator Alpert concerning a bond for $400 million on the ballot in November.
Mr. McConnell noted that in past bond-funded efforts, the Board was able to fund about a third of total county requests. This round funded only about an eighth, leaving slightly over $2.5 billion in need.
Pilot Project Request: Kings County Sheriff’s Department – Dayroom Furnishings (Agenda Item F)
Deputy Director Bill Crout presented the Kings County Sheriff’s Department’s request for a pilot project. Section 470A.2.9.2, Title 24, California Code of Regulations, states that dayrooms or dayroom space shall contain enough tables and seating to accommodate the maximum number of inmates in any given housing pod. The Kings County jail system, rated at 196 beds, has an average daily population of 324. The branch jail is a medium-security, primarily dormitory facility rated at 155 inmates, equipped with 210 beds, and with a new 14-cell, 27-bed maximum-security pod designed to provide space for administrative segregation of maximum-security inmates. The county operates a sophisticated and documented classification system, and the new pod will provide the amount of segregation needed to keep predatory inmates from the rest of the population.
The 27-bed maximum-security unit was constructed with federal Violent Offender Incarceration Grant funding and provides sufficient dayroom space. Each cell is equipped with a table and seat for one inmate, and the unit will operate in conjunction with other housing units and contain only those inmates classified as requiring administrative segregation. The Kings County operational plan is to limit access to the dayroom to one or two inmates at a time; it will not be used for groups of inmates. Rather than putting enough tables and seats in the dayroom to accommodate 27 inmates when that number will not be in the dayroom at any one time, Kings County’s proposes to put tables and seats for eight inmates, which will exceed the number actually needed.
Mr. Crout introduced Commander Ray Franklin to answer any questions. There were none.
Mr. Crout said staff recommended approval of the county’s request for a pilot project to operate the 27-bed housing unit with two tables and seating for eight inmates. The continuation of the pilot project would be contingent upon:
A motion to adopt staff’s recommendations was made by Mr. Sawyer and seconded by Mr. Soto. The motion carried.
Pilot Project Report: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department – Dayroom Furnishings (Agenda Item G)
Mr. Crout presented the report on the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department’s dayroom seating pilot project, which has been in operation for over six months. The 14-bed administrative segregation unit, constructed with Violent Offender Incarceration Grant funds, required that the dayroom be equipped with sufficient tables and seating for the entire rated capacity of 14 inmates. The operation plan calls for dayroom use by only one inmate at a time. The county reports that the unit has operated as planned with no incidents of assaults or complaints, and appears to be working very well.
Mr. Crout said Commander Jim Anderson was available to answer any questions. Mr. Anderson said he was pleased with the operation and that it is an efficient use of the space. There were no questions.
Mr. Sawyer noted that with continued success of several dayroom projects in both operational and economic areas, the issue will be brought before the Titles 15 and 24 Standards Revisions Executive Steering Committees to consider changes to the standards. He indicated that both the Title 15 and Title 24 standards revision processes were getting underway and that comments and recommendations were sought concerning this and other issues toward making positive changes to the regulations. Now is the opportunity to initiate those positive changes to allow counties to build more beds more economically and to manage them more effectively without wasted space. He appreciated counties such as Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Kings, and others for stepping forward with pilot projects to test proposed changes. He urged anyone interested in serving on a standards revision workgroup to please contact a Board member or Board staff.
Alternate Means of Compliance Request: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department – Dayroom Space (Agenda Item H)
Mr. Crout presented the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s request for an alternate means of compliance to schedule two dayroom periods each day in all of the housing units in the main jail and increase the board rated capacity accordingly. Mr. Crout noted that pilot projects last for one year, during which data is gathered, and Board staff closely monitors the process. At the conclusion, Board staff recommends whether alternate means of compliance status should be granted.
When Sacramento County’s main jail was constructed, minimum standards called for single-occupancy cells for all pre-trial inmates. In 1994, the regulation was amended to allow the use of 70-square-foot single or double occupancy cells provided that classification needs were met. This allowed counties to significantly increase the number of beds per facility so long as they provided adequate showers, toilet facilities, tables, seating, and dayroom space to accommodate all of the inmates in the housing pods. Sacramento met all of these requirements except for the 35 square feet of dayroom space for all of the inmates within a double-bunked pod.
There were three obstacles to increasing the capacity of Sacramento’s main jail by modifying single to double occupancy cells. The first was a federal court-ordered cap resulting from an earlier lawsuit, which was resolved by modification of the consent decree. The second involved state fire and life safety regulations, resolved by a change in the fire and life safety standards. The third was that the capacity of the jail was driven by the facility’s dayroom size. This pilot project addressed that issue by time-phasing dayroom use (allowing half of the inmates housed in the unit out of their cells at any given time), which has allowed the county to exceed the requirement.
Based on federal court approval, 508 beds were added to the facility, and all but 72 cells were double-bunked. The county also reported that sufficient authorized positions were added to staff the increased capacity.
During the pilot project’s first six months, only one of 143 grievances was related to dayroom space as were seven of 711 incident reports (the dayroom was merely the location of the incidents and not the cause). In the final eight months of the pilot project, only five of 127 grievances were related to the dayroom and 21 of 961 incident reports. Board staff agrees with Sacramento County that the scheduled use of the dayroom has had a positive effect on the operations of the main jail.
Mr. Crout said that staff recommends the Board grant the alternate means of compliance. He introduced Lt. Bruce Clark and Sgt. Chuck Petrie to answer any questions.
Chairman Presley asked how the additional beds were funded. Mr. Clark said it was a combination of funds from the Violent Offender Incarceration Grant and the county’s Board of Supervisors.
A motion to approve staff’s recommendation was made by Dr. Silbert and seconded by Mr. Terhune. The motion carried.
Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant Update and Presentation by Stanislaus County (Agenda Item I)
Field Representative Jim Sida provided an update on the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant (MIOCRG) demonstration projects and the progress of counties in the development and implementation of those programs. He said the intent of SB 1485, which established the MIOCRG Program, was to encourage and support implementation of locally developed strategies for dealing with mentally ill offenders with these key goals: reduce the rate of crime, reduce jail crowding, and reduce criminal justice costs. Funding of $27 million was appropriated for FY 1998-99, with an additional $27 million in FY 1999-00.
A year ago, counties began to define the problem, look at solutions, and work in collaborative efforts to develop the projects that were submitted to an Executive Steering Committee. At this point, most of the contracts are fully executed, and 13 of the 15 counties have begun operating their programs. Placer County is scheduled to begin in June 2000 and Los Angeles County is slightly delayed pending final approval by their Board of Supervisors; however, Board staff remain in close contact with sheriff’s officials working toward implementation in advance of a fully executed contract.
Mr. Sida reported that Board staff are conducting site visits to assist counties during this important start-up phase prior to the next quarterly project managers meeting on February 24-25, hosted by Placer County. Thus far, visits have been made to Kern, Orange, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Sonoma, and Stanislaus Counties. Scheduled next are Humboldt, Placer, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego. The site visits allow Board staff to become familiar with each project and key project personnel. They are also designed to identify issues involving contract administration, fiscal transactions, and audits to develop a shared knowledge base that will be posted on the Board’s web site. Staff have encountered a high degree of enthusiasm among the county participants, noting that groups that are sometimes adversarial are working together proactively. He cited a particularly remarkable meeting for Santa Barbara County’s mental health court with superior court judges, public defenders, district attorneys, probation, etc., headed by Judge Melville. He also praised the interest and effort in Orange County.
The legislation establishing the MIOCRG Program mandated that the Board develop an evaluation design to assess the effectiveness of the programs in reducing crime, jail crowding, and local criminal justice costs. In consultation with the counties, the Board’s research staff have developed Part 1, Common Data Elements, to collect intake, background, and program participation data. They continue to work on development of components to measure project outcomes, which is a more difficult process. An attempt is made to the extent possible to match data elements that counties already gather and report to the State Department of Mental Health, Client Services Information System. This allows for more accurate and more cost-effective data collection.
The next quarterly project managers meeting, hosted by Placer County on February 24-25, will include project updates, continued development of common data elements, and a presentation by the Department of Finance concerning state audit requirements. In addition, several legislative staff will sit in on the portion involving project updates.
Mr. Sida introduced Dawn Cunningham, Project Manager for Stanislaus County’s MIOCRG Project, the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Program. Ms. Cunningham also introduced Bethany Brickley, who also worked with the program and was there to provide technical support for the PowerPoint presentation.
Ms. Cunningham, from the Stanislaus County Department of Mental Health, said the project was a collaborative effort with the sheriff’s department and probation. The project is very focused and perhaps one of the smallest as far as numbers. The program actually began on December 6, 1999, working initially out of the Public Safety Center, which required that staff undergo a background investigation (a new and unexpected process for most staff). An experienced, multicultural, and multilingual staff is now on board: physician, clinician, case manager, and probation officer.
The project criteria are fairly narrow. Participants must be booked subsequent to December 6, must have a major mental disorder that appears to be causal to the criminal activity, and must not be charged with a felony involving great bodily injury or death. Inmates who have multiple prior offenses and documented symptoms of major mental illness are specifically targeted.
Ms. Cunningham said the project experienced some problems with the identification/selection process. Detention facilities lack a standardized assessment or screening process for identification of mental illness or substance abuse disorders. This has resulted in program staff spending a great deal of time in the tedious process of screening inmates for project criteria, and they must often seek additional information from the already busy custodial staff. Often, inmates may appear to be mentally ill at booking, but are merely under the influence. In addition, some inmates are brought in and released before project staff has had an opportunity to interview them. Once released, it is almost impossible to contact them in the field.
Ms. Cunningham displayed a diagram of the selection process. When an individual is booked, various levels of mental health screening occur, which is where the problem starts. The screening is done by individuals who are not trained to identify symptoms of serious mental illness; i.e., booking staff, custodial officers, arresting officers. Referrals are submitted by the California Forensic Medical Group that works in the detention facilities. However, they may see only those whose behavior is so extreme that they are referred for attention from their staff. Other referrals are from the public defender’s office, the district attorney’s office, and probation, which alert ACT staff when a possible mentally ill suspect is booked.
Following the initial screening, those who appear to potentially meet project criteria are contacted in custody by ACT staff who inform them about the project and seek their consent to participate and agreement to release information. Those who refuse to sign the consent are offered the usual referrals to mental health and substance abuse services upon release from custody. Those who sign receive the full assessment by the ACT clinician to determine whether they, in fact, meet the project criteria. If they do not, they again are offered the usual referrals. If they do meet the criteria, they are referred for random assignment to either the Control Group or the Experimental Group. The Control Group receives the usual referrals and the Experimental Group begins the Assertive Community Treatment immediately upon the Team’s notification.
Ms. Cunningham believed that the consent process was an unanticipated part of the project for many counties and the criminal justice system who, unlike the mental health field, are not accustomed to the issues of informed consent. Professional disciplines require that, when someone is engaged in a research project, informed consent is an absolute must. The elements of the research project, both the risks and the benefits, must be explained to them. Board members were provided a copy of Stanislaus County’s consent form, which is quite lengthy and goes into some detail.
After screening, obtaining the signed consent form is the second obstacle to the selection of participants. Some are too impaired to give informed consent and some simply refuse outright. Ethically, ACT staff are very careful with the process, taking into consideration decisional capacity, unintended coercive elements, and neutral presentation of material.
Ms. Cunningham reported the following selection process statistics:
Phase I – Referrals (total of 126 referred)
47 met criteria, 72 did not, 7 refused all contact
Phase II – Consent (of the 47 who met criteria)
16 signed consent, 28 pending consent, 3 refused consent
Phase III – Assessment (of the 16 who signed consent)
11 qualified, 3 pending assessment, 2 disqualified
Phase IV – Assignment (of the 11 who qualified)
5 assigned to Treatment Group, 6 to Control Group
Ms. Cunningham also provided a participant profile of the 11 who qualified showing, in addition to age and gender, the primary diagnosis, number of days incarcerated and cost of incarceration in 1999, and the type of charges. All are considered to have major mental disorders. They had a combined total of 812 jail days at a total cost of $55,674.74 in 1999. A significant number were under the influence when booked, referred to as "dually diagnosed" with both a mental disorder and recurring substance abuse, presenting a double challenge to ACT staff. Ms. Cunningham said a number of these individuals had been involved at some point in the Mental Health Department and were very resistant to initial treatment efforts. The program will use a "whatever it takes" approach to keep them out of custody once they are released.
Ms. Cunningham expressed concern about the 72 individuals who did not meet the criteria at the initial referral stage. In the early identification process, 37% did not appear to meet the diagnostic criteria and 3% had a history of violent felonies. For the remaining 60%, however, the Team simply could not get to them quickly enough to determine the existence of a major mental disorder or whether it was causal to criminal activity. The 60% may indicate a gap in the screening process that will be re-evaluated.
Ms. Cunningham provided an example of ACT strategies. Once identified for the Treatment Group, the ACT Team looks first at the mental health history, then the criminal, social, and psychiatric circumstances. The Team next considers the patterns of arrest, the time of arrest, and the circumstances of arrest and identifies points of strategic intervention. For example, the offenses of one individual all have to do with family members, all occur in the evening, and all occur in the family home. The Team must attempt to target interventions around the family group and try to break the pattern. Mental health treatment will be concurrent and may be secondary to the intervention techniques. Finally, the Team will implement and support interventions.
By accepting initial funding, counties were required to develop a Local Action Plan. An impressive group gathered to develop that plan and continues to meet monthly as an oversight committee. The group includes the district attorney’s office, public defender’s office, a superior court judge, probation, local police agencies, mental health, consumers, and family members. Not only do they oversee the grant for quality, they are motivated to implement the recommendations of the Local Action Plan. A portion of that is to aggressively address the problems with screening and assessment. Another problem is that mentally ill inmates lose trial competency when in custody, regain it upon release, and then lose it again when returned to custody. To break into that cycle, the oversight committee hopes to make it easier for the sheriff’s department to refer inmates to local acute psychiatric facilities to begin treatment and retain trial competency. There is no funding for this, but there is willingness among the departments to overcome the barrier.
Dr. Saxe-Clifford asked if any quick training could be provided to the screeners. Ms. Cunningham said it had been discussed with jail commanders, but did not have a positive result due to the large number of both booking and custodial staff that would require training. Dr. Saxe-Clifford suggested perhaps written materials could be provided. Ms. Cunningham said written materials were shared with the sheriff, but believes the issue will be addressed more directly through the oversight committee with their considerable influence.
Dr. Silbert noted that the consent form states that no negatives would happen to inmates if they choose not to participate. She believes it important that those responsible make certain that that is the case. Perhaps that could be covered in another training session. Mr. Cunningham replied that the ACT Team has been very attentive to the issues around informed consent and any fallout that might occur when an inmate declines participation. She currently has a high level of confidence that staff are aware of this problem area. They have specifically emphasized to custodial staff that this is a research project with certain steps in place and all must be careful to not jeopardize the integrity of the program.
Mr. Soto said he admired the courage of the Team to attack this truly daunting situation and appreciated the meticulous approach being used toward the issues and the type of offenders, who are often subject to misinterpretation. As more results become available, he hopes that future workgroups might use the data to reconsider some of the definitions around the handling and screening of these inmates and what is considered mental health. Ms. Cunningham thanked Mr. Soto.
Ms. Cunningham referred back to the issue of training for screeners. ACT staff had recognized that screening could present problems and asked the sheriff’s department custodial division to use a screening tool from the Department of Corrections. That tool is currently being tested for reliability, and preliminary results indicate that it is reliable. The problem at this time is obtaining a uniform application of the screening tool. Ms. Cunningham predicted there would ultimately be a recommendation for a screening tool and a uniform application method for Stanislaus County’s detention facilities.
Chairman Presley asked if the program was essentially a pioneering effort. Ms. Cunningham said it was, along with those of all the other counties that are a part of the MIOCRG Program. She was not aware, however, of other counties using the same screening tool or the informed consent process. At this early stage, she had not had an opportunity to compare notes with those other counties.
In closing, Mr. Sida commented that as these and other issues arise, they will be brought up at the quarterly project managers meetings.
Chairman Presley believed the program to be an important effort that could potentially save a lot of money for corrections. He commended the coordination of effort to work out the rough spots.
Legislative Update (Agenda Item J)
Deputy Director Chuck Page provided the Board with summaries of legislation of interest to the Board. He said there were no changes to those summaries except to AB 565, which originally began as the After School Learning and Safe Neighborhoods Partnerships Program. An amendment dated January 3, 2000, proposed to take from the Board of Corrections, the At-Risk Youth Early Intervention Program, the Juvenile Crime Enforcement and Accountability Challenge Grant Program, and the Repeat Offender Prevention Grant Program; from the Office of the Attorney General, the California Gang, Crime, and Violence Prevention Partnership Program; and various other programs from the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services. Those programs and the personnel that operate them would all be transferred into the Office of Violence, Crime, and Gang Prevention at the Office of Criminal Justice Planning.
On January 14, the transfer of programs was removed from the bill, and the bill called for formation of the California Violence Prevention and Public Health Plan. This Plan would include a group to look at and make recommendations to the Legislature on the implementation of these kinds of programs. A report would be due to the Legislature two years after enactment of the bill.
Mr. Page said that on January 19, the bill was changed again and now may include a reporting obligation to the Attorney General’s Office as well.
Chairman Presley asked about the status of AB 652 regarding the Board’s membership. Mr. Page said the Assembly had rescinded the Senate amendments. To date, the bill has gone before the Assembly four times, but each time placed in its inactive file.
Chairman Presley adjourned the Board meeting at 11:30 a.m.
Robert Presley, Chair/Secretary, Youth and
Adult Correctional Agency
C. A. Terhune, Director, Department of Corrections
Greg Zermeño, Director, Department of the Youth Authority
Tom Sawyer, Sheriff, Merced County Sheriff’s Department
Susan Saxe-Clifford, Ph.D., Susan Saxe-Clifford, Ph.D. Corporation
Mimi H. Silbert, Ph.D., Executive Director, Delancey Street Foundation
Thomas L. Soto, Chief Executive Officer, PS Enterprises
Thomas E. McConnell, Executive Director
Marilyn Coombs, Executive Assistant
William Crout, Deputy Director, FSOD
Toni Hafey, Deputy Director, CPPD
Fred Morawcznski, Field Representative, CPPD
Charles Page, Deputy Director, STC
Jim Sida, Field Representative, STC
Ken Ventura, Field Representative, FSOD
Jim Anderson, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s
Bob Altmeyer, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department
Carol Beck, Prison Industry Authority
Susan Bellonzi, Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Les Breeden, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
Bethany Brickley, Stanislaus County Department of Mental Health
Kimiko Burton-Cruz, Criminal Justice Council, San Francisco
Bill Cates, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
Jim Childers, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department
Bruce Clark, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
Dan Cunningham, Napa County Department of Corrections
Dawn Cunningham, Stanislaus County Department of Mental Health
Laura Dale, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department
Ben Doane, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department
Bob Dotts, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
Linda Duffy, Stanislaus County Probation Department
Bob Eilers, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department
Ray Franklin, Kings County Sheriff’s Department
Cheryl Fuller, Fuller, Coe & Associates
Hal Grant, Madera County Department of Corrections
John Hansell, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department
Stan Hein, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department
Rocky Hewitt, Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Robin Hobbs, Nacht & Lewis Architects
Robert Holmes, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
Norm Hurst, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
Larry Jarrett, Shasta County Sheriff’s Department
Ken Kipp, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department
Carol Kizziah, Delancey Street Foundation
Milton Losoya, Yolo County Probation Department
Jim Marmack, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
Sean McDermott, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department
Taylor Moorehead, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Doug Papagni, Fresno County Sheriff’s Department
Chuck Petrie, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
Steve Reader, Placer County Sheriff’s Department
Vicki Rice, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Tim Ryan, Santa Clara County Department of Correction
Greg Slane, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department
Darrel Stambaugh, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department
Gary Steele, Sacramento County Probation Department
Julie Strauss, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
Marilyn Weldon, Fresno County Sheriff’s Department
Ray Wingerd, San Bernardino County Probation Department
Mike Ziegler, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department