Welcome to the State of California

Review Panel: Executive Summary


California’s $6 billion correctional system suffers from a multitude of problems — out-of-control costs; a recidivism rate exceeding that of any other state; reported abuse of inmates by correctional officers; an employee disciplinary system that fails to punish wrongdoers; and the failure of correctional institutions to provide wards and inmates with mandated health care and other services. The result has been a succession of costly lawsuits and a threat by a U.S. District Court judge to place the state’s prisons under federal receivership.

In reality, the majority of correctional employees are hard-working individuals engaged in a difficult job. But they are working in a defective system that has little accountability, no uniformity, and no transparency. The California correctional system is comprised of more than 54,000 employees and a budget totaling almost $6 billion—5.6 percent of the total state budget. That significant investment in human resources is responsible for supervising more than 300,000 adult inmates and parolees and 8,400 juvenile parolees and wards in order to protect the safety of the public.

From the 1940s through the 1970s, the California correctional system was looked upon as the national leader. Innovative and daring, California pioneered the way for standards that were adopted by other jurisdictions as a model of efficiency. What, then, has happened to this jewel of a corrections system? How did it fall from the pinnacle of success? The answers are complex, yet simple: there has been too much political interference, too much union control, and too little management courage, accountability, and transparency.

The legislative confirmation process has given the state wardens who are often not adequately prepared for the job and who owe their allegiance to political forces rather than to a set of principles and to the corrections organization. Each warden acts as a feudal baron, employing different standards and different operating procedures. This, in turn, has created an environment where accountability is minimal and where the Secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency has little or no power.

Recognizing that there must be a balance between management’s obligation to direct the activities of the department in order to achieve operational goals and a union’s obligation to ensure that its members receive just wages and work in a safe and fair environment, it is clear that the pendulum has shifted too far to the union’s side. Thanks to a contract granted by the executive and legislative branches of government, the union has been granted authority over traditional management rights such as work assignments, overtime, sick leave, and employee investigations. Those concessions have undermined the ability of corrections management to direct and control the activities of the department.

To compound the problem, the state’s correctional system has not developed a cadre of leaders who can manage the department despite these obstacles. Wardens do not systematically receive the training and experience needed before they are appointed, and in fact, there is no job description for the warden assignment. Supervisors and mid-management personnel also do not receive proper training and there is no succession plan to ensure that experienced employees rise upward through the organization. For some time, the upper levels of department management have not displayed the courage or integrity to stand up to political pressure.

Because the situation in the Department of Corrections has so gravely shaken public confidence, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established the Corrections Independent Review Panel, headed by former Governor George Deukmejian, and gave it a clear mandate: conduct an independent review of California’s correctional system and report the findings to Governor Schwarzenegger, and, at the same time, release the findings to the public.

In addition to former Governor Deukmejian, the panel consists of an outside executive director and two outside consultants. They have been assisted by a staff of 36 from the Department of Corrections, the California Youth Authority, the Office of the Inspector General, the Board of Prison Terms, the California Highway Patrol, and the Labor and workforce Development Agency. The panel was divided into eight teams: Organization, Ethics and Culture, Employee Discipline, Use of Force, Personnel and Training, Risk Management, Population Control, and Institution Closures. In addition, the panel examined the current labor contract between the State of California and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, along with the technology challenges facing the correctional system.

The panel spent four months reviewing published reports and other material pertaining to corrections, including reports issued by the Office of the Inspector General, the Little Hoover Commission, and the State Auditor. In addition, the panel conducted interviews with current and former members of the Governor’s Office, current and former members of the state Legislature, current and former employees of the Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority, representatives from the Office of the Inspector General, members of the Little Hoover Commission, the leadership of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, experts in the field, and concerned citizens. Altogether, the panel spoke to more than 470 people in the course of its study and consulted almost 400 published documents. All of these are listed in the appendices to the full report.

As summarized here and described in more detail in the panel’s full report, which is published under separate cover, the panel found that a great deal must be done to reform the state’s correctional system and restore its credibility in the eyes of the public. Toward that end, the panel is presenting 239 specific recommendations targeted to every aspect of the state’s correctional organization and operations. A complete list of the recommendations is included in this Executive Summary.

The panel recognizes that not all of the recommendations can be accomplished overnight. Rather, the recommendations should be viewed as a blueprint for future budget and policy decisions. Underlying all of the panel’s work is one overarching goal: improving public safety for the citizens of California.

The panel identified major issues that should be addressed as soon as possible. They include the following:
  • Reorganizing the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency;
  • Changing the correctional culture, eliminating the “code of silence,” and reinforcing strong ethical behavior;
  • Ensuring that the best employment candidates are recruited and that all employees are properly trained;
  • Establishing discipline and use-of-force policies that are fair and equitable to the employees, the department, inmates and wards, and the public, and
  • Changing the way we manage inmates and wards so that they are better prepared to reenter the community as productive members of society.

The panel’s recommendations address these high-priority matters as follows:

Leadership

The panel is recommending the creation of a new Department of Correctional Services to be led by a Civilian Corrections Commission, which will function as the department’s board of directors. The commission members will be appointed by the Governor and will serve at the pleasure of the Governor for a period not to exceed 10 years. The Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services will be the chief executive officer of the Department of Correctional Services and will have full authority to administer the affairs of the department.

The command structure of the department will be made up of a series of units, each headed by a person selected by the Secretary. The authority line for the department will follow the command structure from facility to region to Director, to the Secretary, who will be ultimately responsible for all that occurs within the department. The Secretary will retain responsibility, but may delegate the authority to subordinates, for all departmental activities, including, but not limited to, personnel assignment, selection and promotion, discipline, budget, institution and parole management, facilities operation, and public affairs.

Organizational Structure

The Department of Correctional Services will be organized into the following components: policy, staff support, and operations. Heads of facilities, regional functions, and activities will report to the appropriate department authority. Some specialized functions at the regional or institution level, such as investigations or data processing, may report to a major department authority.

Selection and Development of Personnel

Selection, assignment, and promotion will be guided primarily by merit, performance, progression through the education and training system, and time in service. The ultimate authority for personnel decisions will rest with the Secretary, however, and the appropriate and adroit delegation of that authority is among his or her most powerful tools for influencing the organization.

Values and character development will be integral to all educational activities.

Role of Labor Unions

Union authority should be limited to matters relative to wages, hours, working conditions, and the health and safety of union members. Unions should not participate in management functions and their participation in disciplinary procedures should be limited to a representation role for members of bargaining units.

Values and Ethics

A written code of conduct, signed by each employee, is integral to all personnel activities.

Commitment to public transparency should include open sessions at regular Civilian Corrections Commission meetings. The Secretary should also make regular public reports to the Legislature.

The full report of the Corrections Independent Review Panel is made up of 11 chapters that discuss in detail the panel’s findings and recommendations. Following is a summary of the chapters and of the panel’s recommendations.

Organization

To a significant extent, the problems of California’s Correctional system grow out of its structure. The Secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, for example, has no control over line operations. Instead, the state’s 32 prison wardens and eight juvenile institution superintendents each operate independently, with little consistency in procedures and minimal help from headquarters. Lines of responsibility are blurred by layers of bureaucracy between managers and functions. Accountability is absent, as is transparency for the public into the system’s inner workings. Clear, uniform policies governing the system’s most vital functions — fiscal matters, personnel and training, internal affairs, information technology, and health care — are equally lacking. Boards, commissions, and other entities that have evolved over the decades perform duplicate and overlapping functions. And the system’s organizational structure has not kept pace with the massive growth in inmate population or with the vast geographical spread of the institutions.

The panel recommends that the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency be reorganized as the Department of Correctional Services and that a Civilian Corrections Commission be created at the highest level of the organization. The commission will hold bimonthly public meetings and will have authority to approve policy and provide direction to the correctional administration, thereby opening the operations of the correctional system to public view and giving the public an active voice and role in corrections. The members of the Civilian Corrections Commission will be appointed by the Governor.

The Office of the Inspector General will be retained as the entity responsible for independent oversight of the correctional system and will have the ability to conduct any investigation without interference. The Office of the Inspector General will also act as the auditing and investigative arm of the Civilian Corrections Commission. The Inspector General will be appointed by and will report directly to the Commission.

The Department of Correctional Services will be headed by the Secretary of Correctional Services, who will be ultimately responsible for all that occurs in the department. The Secretary will carry out the directives of the Civilian Corrections Commission and will administer the affairs of the department and act as its chief executive officer. The Secretary will be appointed by the Governor from a pool of three candidates recommended by the Civilian Corrections Commission and can be removed by the commission.

The policy and support functions of the Department of Correctional Services will report directly to the Secretary. These functions will include research and planning, fiscal management, health care administration, risk management, information technology, personnel and training development, internal affairs, and labor relations.

The central management and support functions of the Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority will be merged into the new Department of Correctional Services. Youth and adult field operations will be concentrated under regional directors, who will be fully responsible for all operations in designated geographic regions and accountable to their respective directors of operations and programs. Parole operations will be closely integrated with institution programs, with regional directors fully responsible for preparing inmates and wards for eventual return to the community from the moment they enter a prison or a youth facility until they are released from parole.

The effect of the reorganization will be to flatten the organizational structure by removing layers of bureaucracy that have obscured lines of authority and accountability between top managers and the functions for which they are responsible. It will also centralize authority for policy making and open the channels of communication from the top of the organization to the field operation levels.

The reorganization of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency is the linch-pin of the panel’s other recommendations and should be given high priority.

Ethics and Culture

Recent events have brought to light an insidious “code of silence” operating within California’s correctional institutions. Although a reluctance to report wrongdoing by coworkers is common in any workplace, the code of silence that has taken hold in the state’s prisons and juvenile facilities is deeply destructive, profoundly unacceptable, and symptomatic of an urgent need for cultural reform in the state correctional system.

By allowing misconduct to go unreported and unpunished, the code of silence undermines the very purpose of the correctional system to safely house those committed to its custody and to help them prepare for return to the community. It also damages public safety and erodes the public trust. And it demoralizes the majority of employees who perform a difficult job with diligence and professionalism. No positive change can take place in the correctional system until the culture is reformed from the very top and the code of silence is decisively eliminated.

Accomplishing that reform will require a multi-pronged approach that includes ensuring that department managers and administrators serve as role models for integrity and that they require the same behavior from employees. It will require designing recruiting standards to select candidates of high moral character; conducting thorough background investigations of all applicants for employment; and requiring every employee to sign an official code of conduct that clearly defines cooperating in a code of silence as misconduct. It will also require that employees who fail to report misconduct or who retaliate against or harass employees who do report misconduct be disciplined.

The panel’s recommendations in this area should be given high priority. Most can be implemented within existing budget constraints and with little executive or legislative action.

Employee Investigations and Discipline

Employee discipline in the state’s correctional agencies is not uniform and employees have little trust in the system. At present, there is no matrix of disciplinary actions to guide management in its penalty recommendations, and management is not responsible for making the decision as to whether or not a complaint is sustained. The ethics and culture of the organization cannot be reformed until all complaints, from any source, are thoroughly investigated and fairly adjudicated.

The panel recommends that all internal investigation and staff discipline functions be carried out through a centralized internal affairs office reporting directly to the Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services. A central intake unit should be responsible for assessing all requests for internal investigations, complaints of staff misconduct, and serious use-of-force incidents. A disciplinary drafting unit made up of trained legal advocates should be established to write employee disciplinary actions and represent the department during the appeal process. Vertical investigation teams made up of an investigator and an attorney should be responsible for cases from inception through resolution, and a disciplinary matrix should be developed to guide management in its penalty recommendations.

Implementation of vertical investigation teams and establishment of a disciplinary matrix should be given high priority. The implementation of advance discipline technology should be combined with other technology requests and formulated into a master plan for the future.

Use of Force

The use of force is not intended to be part of punishment in correctional institutions— incarceration is punishment— but it would be unrealistic to expect that instances do not arise where the use of force is justified and necessary. But the emphasis must be on the words “justified and necessary.”

Recently, instances of unjustifiable use of force in the Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority have been brought to light. Even though the employees involved represent a small minority, such acts underscore the need for clear and forceful standards governing the use of force and for consistent investigative procedures into all serious use-of-force incidents.

In reviewing the existing use-of-force policies and investigative procedures of the Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority, the panel found a lack of uniformity. Although satisfactory use-of-force and investigative procedures have been implemented at Pelican Bay State Prison as a result of federal court actions, the procedures have not yet been implemented statewide.

The panel is recommending that use-of-force policies in use at Pelican Bay State Prison be implemented throughout the state correctional system. The revised policies include a refined definition of use of force, a uniform policy for the entire department, the establishment of a use-of-force investigative team and a revised incident review and training policy.

Because of the consequences to staff, inmates, wards, and parolees, as well as to the department, these recommendations should be given high priority.

Personnel and Training

The key to any successful organization is simple. Hire the best people available and train them to do their jobs with professionalism and integrity. In addition, establish a command succession plan so that the best and the brightest can be promoted through the organization into leadership positions. These activities cement the foundation of the organization.

At present, the state’s correctional departments and boards fail to meet these requirements. A hiring plan is nonexistent, and background investigations for applicants are weak. There is little coordination between the academies that instruct in the fundamental components of sworn officer jobs, and, as a result, academy training is disjointed. There also is no systematic plan to provide uniform in-service training. Supervisory and mid-management training is minimal and command training and executive development is absent. There are no job descriptions for most key positions and no centralized office to manage personnel resources.

The panel is recommending establishment of a new Office of Personnel and Training to provide accountability and uniformity in the hiring, deployment and training of all employees. It is also recommended that a behavioral science unit be established within the Office of Personnel and Training to assist employees in coping with stress in the workplace by introducing a psychologist into every prison and juvenile facility.

Some of these recommendations can be initiated immediately, while others must depend on the budget process. Hiring and training should receive the high priority.

Risk Management and Health Care

The Department of Corrections lacks a self-auditing, correcting, and staff accountability process that feeds into a review and revision of regulations, procedures, and training. The California Youth Authority operates under the same handicap. The absence of risk-management capabilities exposes the departments to unnecessary litigation and costs.

The panel is recommending the establishment of an Office of Risk Management, which will identify practices, policies, and conditions that represent potential legal or fiscal risks. “At risk” employees and “at risk” incidents will be analyzed immediately so that corrective action can be taken.

The administration of health care for state prison inmates and wards has failed to consistently provide adequate health care, comply with and resolve ongoing federal litigation, manage costs within budget, and provide a systematic response to evolving demands. In the last five years the overall health care budget has doubled to approximately $1 billion.

The panel is recommending the establishment of an Office of Health Care Administration headed by a top-level health care administrator and supported by experienced program managers.

The Department of Correctional Services should establish an agreement with the University of California for the development and operation of a pilot project to manage and provide all health care services (medical, mental health, pharmacy and dental care) for a defined group of institutions. If the pilot project is successful, the goal will be to expand the program to the entire health care system for corrections.

The panel is also recommending contracting health care services at the regional and local level in areas where the university pilot project is not yet operational.

The establishment of the pilot program should be given high priority and, if the pilot program is successful, the expansion should be planned for the next three to five years.

Inmate and Parolee Population Management

Three factors affect the size of the adult prison population: the length of time inmates serve in prison; the level of treatment and training provided to inmates; and the rate at which parolees remain crime free when they return to society. The current system has not adequately prepared inmates for a successful return to society at the conclusion of their sentence, which has led to a high recidivism rate.

The panel is recommending the elimination of the current time-credit system and instead using a “presumptive” sentencing structure that better encourages an inmate to achieve identified goals while in prison. Second, at the start of an inmate’s sentence, there must be an emphasis on providing education, vocational classes and other life-skills training proven to increase the chances of an inmate’s success upon release. There should also be an increase in drug treatment programs. And parole should focus the most intensive supervision on parolees who represent the highest risk to society. Low-risk parolees should be assisted at the community level and be discharged from parole more quickly.

Ward and Parolee Population Management

Although the population of the state’s youth correctional institutions has declined in recent years, the type of youthful offenders currently being committed to the California Youth Authority has changed. Today the youthful offenders in California Youth Authority facilities are more likely to have committed serious crimes, have mental health problems, and belong to a gang. Yet, the department has not adjusted its rehabilitative efforts to meet the needs of this population.

The panel is recommending that the system the system of delivering educational services be revamped. The changes should include reducing student absenteeism, lowering the ratio of teachers to wards, and hiring more dual-credentialed teachers in the core academic areas.

The panel is also recommending that whenever possible, parole services be shifted from the state to the county for low-risk offenders. To encourage treatment at the community level, the fee paid by counties to the state for the treatment, training, and supervision of lower-level wards should be modified to more closely reflect the actual costs incurred by the state in providing those services.

It is recommended that the court, rather than the California Youth Authority or the new Youth Hearing Administration be granted the authority to revoke parole for non-violent wards.

These recommended changes are costly and must be implemented over an extended period of time.

Closures

Although there is a projected decrease in the adult prison population, the state’s prisons are severely overcrowded. Almost 9,500 inmates occupy what prison administrators call “ugly beds”— meaning they are stacked three deep in bunk beds, housed two-to-a-cell in 35-square foot cells designed for one, or crammed into gyms and dayrooms that were never meant to be used for housing. This situation creates difficult, unsanitary living conditions where ventilation is poor, toilet access is limited, and as many as 200 people might share six showers.

The situation makes the prisons more dangerous, putting inmates and correctional employees alike at risk of violence. The panel does not recommend closing any adult prisons until these “ugly beds” are eliminated.

Because the population of youthful offenders in state correctional facilities is declining, the panel recommends closing two more of those facilities in addition to the closures already planned by the California Youth Authority. Along with the closures, the panel recommends that living unit size be reduced to 25 beds within five years to bring the state’s facilities into line with accepted national standards for juvenile institutions and that the ratio of staff to wards be reduced to 1 to 8.

Labor Contract

The panel has determined that the current labor contract between the state and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which expires in July 2006, has severely hindered management’s efforts to direct the state’s correctional departments.

The panel has proposed a series of recommendations that should take place at the bargaining table when the contract is renegotiated to return to management the ability to efficiently direct the activities of the department.

Information Technology

The Department of Corrections is technologically antiquated. The equipment and systems are old and cannot communicate with each other. Staffing is too low and budgetary allocations are dismal. Most important, there is a lack of uniformity and training.

The panel recommends the establishment of a centralized, highly placed information technology leadership in corrections; a five-year strategic plan for infrastructure implementation; and enforcement of corrections-wide policies and standards through an enterprise architecture.

Implementation

To address the scope and volume of these recommendations, the panel offers the following implementation guidelines.

  • A strategic plan. A detailed strategic plan should be developed that includes a means of tracking progress. The strategic planning process should begin immediately. It should be led by experienced strategic planners and should include a select team that includes all involved entities. The strategic plan should be guided by three principles:
    1. An articulated vision and values
    2. A clear mission and short-term goals for measuring progress
    3. Objectives and an action plan describing what will be done and in what order it will be accomplished.

    Implementation planning should prioritize objectives based on the vision, values, mission, and goals of the organization.

  • Continuing strategic management. A task force should be developed to provide oversight and address barriers to implementation. Given the magnitude of the effort, the task force might consist of several groups focused on specific aspects of implementation.
  • Immediate implementation of certain recommendations. Implementation can begin immediately on recommendations that can be accomplished under the current Youth and Adult Correctional Agency structure, including policy changes recommended for internal affairs, personnel and training, information technology, risk management, and the code of conduct, as well as continued development of financial management and health care administration.
  • Give population management recommendations priority. Recommendations affecting institution and parole population management are critical to the success of the organization are needed now in institutions and parole operations and should be at the forefront of organizational planning.
  • Begin the groundwork for long-term changes as soon as possible. Planning for long-term change should begin even before legislative approval is obtained for reorganization. The significant investments in time, in human capital, and in technology needed for some of the panel’s recommendations should be determined and made over successive budget cycles.
  • Begin implementing changes in health care administration. While implementing the changes recommended in health care administration will require a long-term effort, the changes can be initiated now. Without delay, the department should develop a plan to establish a new central administrative organization; enter into collaboration with the University of California for the delivery of health care services; develop the data necessary to support correctional health care demands; establish a task force to develop contracts needed for the delivery of health care in institutions; develop a master set of contracting documents; establish field contract managers to obtain health care providers; and train the contract managers. Internal organizational changes — such as moving the present quality management assessment program to a new risk management function, and the present program support to a new financial management operation—should also be undertaken immediately.

Recommendations

Following is a complete list of the panel’s recommendations. Recommendations followed by an asterisk should be implemented within one year.

    Organization
  1. Create a Civilian Corrections Commission at the highest level of the organization and assign the commission authority to approve policy and provide direction to the correctional administration. *
  2. Retain the Office of the Inspector General as the entity responsible for independent oversight of the correctional system and also situate the Office of the Inspector General as the auditing and investigative arm of the Civilian Corrections Commission. *
  3. Restructure the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency as the Department of Correctional Services, and merge the central management and support functions of the Department of Corrections and the Department of the Youth Authority into the new department. *
  4. Establish the Secretary of Correctional Services as the head of the Department of Correctional Services. The Secretary will serve as a member of the Governor’s cabinet. *
  5. Give the Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services the power to appoint individuals to key managerial positions. [1]
  6. Eliminate the Board of Prison Terms, the Narcotic Addict Evaluation Authority Board, the Youth Authority Board, and the Prison Industry Board, and the Joint Venture Policy Advisory Board and absorb the functions of the former boards into units of the Department of Correctional Services. *
  7. Transfer the administrative support and policy functions of the Prison Industry Authority and the Joint Venture Program to the Department of Correctional Services and assign responsibility for Prison Industry Authority and Joint Venture Program operations to new Regional Directors of adult operations. *
  8. Move the Board of Corrections into the new Department of Correctional Services and rename it as the Corrections Standards Authority. Assign the Corrections Standards Authority responsibility for establishing the first coordinated state and local strategic planning efforts for the youth and adult correctional systems. Give the Corrections Standards Authority responsibility for setting standards and conducting inspections of state prisons and youth facilities. *
  9. Eliminate the Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training and transfer the responsibilities of the commission for setting training standards for state youth and adult correctional peace officers to the new Corrections Standards Authority inside the Department of Correctional Services. *
  10. Establish a high-level Risk Management office to identify policies and practices that present legal and fiscal risks to the state’s correctional system. *
  11. Elevate information technology to a policy level directly under the Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services to help bring about consistency and modernization in the department’s information technology system. *
  12. Enhance the ability of the new Department of Correctional Services to manage its wide array of institution and parole responsibilities by concentrating youth and adult field operations under regional directors, who will be fully responsible for all operations in designated geographic regions and who will be accountable to a common director of operations and programs. *
  13. Integrate parole operations with institution programs and makes regional directors responsible for preparing inmates for eventual return to the community from the moment they enter a prison or youth facility until they are released from parole. *

Ethics and Culture

  1. Arrange with an outside entity to conduct a cultural assessment of the state correctional system to identify issues needing reform. Arrange for a follow-up assessment every two years. *
  2. Ensure that Department of Correctional Services managers and administrators serve as role models for integrity and that they require the same behavior from employees. *
  3. Provide a means for employees to report misconduct, anonymously if necessary, without fear of reprisal. *
  4. Strengthen recruiting standards to select candidates of high moral character. *
  5. Conduct thorough and detailed background investigations of all peace officer applicants. The investigations should be performed by specially trained investigators who are held accountable for the quality of the investigations. *
  6. Assign new academy graduates to a field training officer during the probationary period. Field training officers should be selected on the basis of proven job experience and positive ethical behavior and should be specifically trained to mentor and critique new employees. *
  7. Require every employee to sign an official code of conduct that clearly defines cooperating in a code of silence as misconduct. Include in the code an affirmation that the employee has no knowledge of unreported wrongdoing and will report any future misconduct. Accompany the code of conduct with a list of the disciplinary sanctions to be imposed for violating the code. *
  8. Discipline employees who fail to report misconduct or who retaliate against or harass employees who do report misconduct. *
  9. Demand that the off-duty conduct of peace officers be identical to the high standards required on duty. *
  10. Enhance academy training to include ethical considerations relevant to every employee’s specific job. *
  11. Require in-service training in ethics at least every two years for all employees. *
  12. Invite the Office of the Attorney General to lecture on the “code of silence” and corruption during department training. *
  13. Establish a system of accountability that includes performance measures by which to evaluate employees and monitor levels of achievement. *
  14. Develop a new mission statement that succinctly expresses the department’s goals and objectives. *
  15. Include a rating of each employee’s adherence to the code of conduct in the annual employee appraisal. Supervisors should be evaluated annually by the staff who report directly to them. *
  16. Administer discipline fairly, timely, and consistently to all employees, regardless of rank or position. *
  17. Establish a new commendation: the “medal of integrity,” to be publicly awarded to employees who have displayed exceptional moral courage. *
  18. Publicize commendation and disciplinary actions at a level of detail that will not violate applicable statutes or rules. *
  19. Employ “quality management” principles and methods, such as the use of cross-functional teams and evidence-based decision models. *
  20. Develop an organizational structure that supports accountability at all levels.
  21. Select and train supervisors to display the leadership and courage necessary to reinforce the ethical principles of the department. *

Employee Investigations and Discipline

  1. Merge internal investigation and staff discipline functions for all Department of Correctional Services divisions into one-full-service internal affairs office reporting directly to the Secretary. *
  2. Establish clear policies and procedures to govern internal affairs investigations, the pre-disciplinary hearing process, settlement negotiations, and employee disciplinary appeals. *
  3. Establish a central intake unit responsible for assessing all requests for internal investigations, complaints of staff misconduct, and serious use-of-force incidents. *
  4. Implement a vertical investigation team model for all internal affairs investigations. *
  5. Establish a disciplinary drafting unit responsible for developing a penalty matrix and preparing all written notices of disciplinary action. *
  6. Provide training to hiring authorities and attorneys in procedures governing internal investigations, the Skelly hearing process, settlement negotiations, and the staff disciplinary appeal process. *
  7. Replace the existing State Personnel Board appeal process with an internal employee discipline appeal panel. [2]
  8. Create a central database to record and track all allegations of staff misconduct.
  9. Create a central database to record and track serious use-of-force incidents.
  10. Establish a central database to track all facets of the employee investigation and discipline processes. *
  11. Establish an internal affairs information website and a toll-free hotline for reporting misconduct. *
  12. Publish quarterly adverse action summaries. *
  13. Provide initial and annual training to all employees in causes for adverse action and related penalties. *

Use of Force

  1. Implement a standardized use-of-force policy applicable to all peace officers, but with elements specific to the differences among adult prisons, youth correctional facilities, and adult and youth parole operations. *
  2. Implement an enhanced training program covering the new use-of-force policy.
  3. Implement the Madrid review and compliance unit analyst for all use-of-force incidents for adult prisons, youth correctional facilities, and adult and youth parole operations. *
  4. Establish regional use-of-force investigation teams to investigate any staff use of force that results in serious bodily injury or death and any other serious application of force. *
  5. Create a classification list of use-of-force consequences and acts that will mandate an investigation by the use-of-force investigation team. *
  6. Require investigations of inmate/parolee/ward/citizen complaints regarding use of force and consider the complaint during the use of force review and critique process.
  7. Establish a standardized statewide network database for use-of-force incidents that defines critical facts relative to use of force.
  8. Define how use-of-force data will be analyzed and used.

Personnel and Training

  1. Establish an Office of Personnel and Training reporting directly to the Secretary.
  2. Conduct classification evaluation of all positions within the Department of Correctional Services to ensure appropriateness of classes and to promote efficient use of human resources.
  3. Develop job descriptions for all positions, including executives. *
  4. Establish a management information system to accommodate personnel and training databases, provide easy access, and generate periodic reports.
  5. Establish a web-based human resources information center for career progression.
  6. Adjust salaries to be commensurate with responsibility and conduct periodic salary adjustment studies.
  7. Conduct timely performance evaluations based on job competencies. *
  8. Develop an annual recruitment plan to ensure the recruitment and retention of qualified employees. *
  9. Create an annual advertising campaign within the annual recruitment plan designed to attract qualified employees and build a positive public image.
  10. Develop an annual public affairs plan within the annual recruitment plan designed to attract qualified employees and build a positive public image.
  11. Award hiring preference points for peace officer applicants with college credits, law enforcement experience, and/or military experience.
  12. Complete all pre-employment background investigations within 60 days. *
  13. Contract with private background investigators to supplement staffing levels to ensure that background investigations are thorough and completed on time.
  14. Ensure that all pre-employment background investigations are thorough and contain mandatory components to ensure that the Department is protected from “at risk” applicants. *
  15. Use continual testing to reduce the length of the current hiring process for all entry-level peace officer positions and other classifications needing a large number of new hires.
  16. Complete all assignments, transfers, and promotions from the central Office of Personnel and Training, where a database, or centralized pool, of the total supply of persons available and groomed for service will be kept.
  17. Establish a behavioral science unit within the Office of Personnel and Training and the position of chief psychologist to direct it. *
  18. Assign a trained psychologist to each youth and adult institution to address the needs of employees, assist with critical incident debriefing, and report to the chief psychologist within the behavioral science unit.
  19. Offer an incentive or bonus to employees who successfully recruit individuals who are hired.
  20. Establish a recruitment partnership with all employee organizations that represents their employees.

The following is a summary of recommendations needed to redesign a continuum of training that begins with the preparation of the basic academy recruit, follows through the probationary phase, continues with in-service training and prepares for leadership positions:

  1. Consolidate the basic academies for youth and adult correctional peace officers. *
  2. Centralize academies under one academy administrator. *
  3. Ensure that officers complete core academies before assuming the responsibilities of the position. *
  4. Develop a command college for the upper echelons of the correctional peace officer career ladder.
  5. Transfer officers upon acceptance of promotion so that they do not supervise employees who were peers before promotion. *
  6. Shorten the basic academy by accepting community college training certificates in specific areas.
  7. Award college credits for academy training.
  8. Designate the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center in Galt, California the Department of Correctional Services main training facility, and develop two satellite training operations in the southern and central part of the state.
  9. Centralize the in-service training program at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Academy at Galt, California.
  10. Select and train the “best and brightest” to be academy instructors. *
  11. Develop a new selection process for academy instructors that includes a recommendation by the candidate’s warden or parole administrator, an oral interview, a written assignment, and a 15-20 minute presentation before other academy instructors. *
  12. Limit academy instructor assignments to create a systematic rotation.
  13. Eliminate the Commission on Correctional Peace Officers Standards and Training.
  14. Eliminate the Correctional Peace Officer apprenticeship program for entry-level state correctional peace officer classes. *
  15. Move the responsibility and resources for setting standards for training of state correctional peace officers to the new Corrections Standards Authority. *
  16. Move the responsibility and resources for setting selection standards for entry-level state correctional peace officers to the Corrections Standards Authroity. *
  17. Move the responsibility and resources for developing, approving, and monitoring standards for advanced rank-and-file and supervisory state correctional peace officers to the Corrections Standards Authority.
  18. Move to the Corrections Standards Authority, the responsibility and resources for developing, approving and monitoring selection standards and training standards for correctional training officers.
  19. Establish a field training officer program with appropriate selection criteria and training. *
  20. Develop, approve, and monitor standards for a newly designated field training officer.
  21. Begin the probationary period for correctional peace officers upon graduation from the basic academy. The probationary period should be one year. *
  22. Implement a 30 minute pre-shift briefing for all Department of Correctional Services frontline peace officer positions and their supervisors.
  23. Require all units participating in pre-shift briefings to maintain a briefing book containing information to be disseminated at briefings.
  24. Implement a training program to be utilized during the 30 minute pre-shift briefing.
  25. Establish an eight and one half hour workday for all Department of Correctional Services frontline peace officer positions and their first-line supervisors.
  26. Develop and provide supervisory, managerial, and executive staff training before employees assume these positions, whether classified as custody or non-custody.
  27. Develop and provide a mentorship model for supervisory, managerial, and executive staff positions.
  28. Create supervisory, managerial, and executive staff training that emphasizes vision, leadership and ethics.
  29. Develop specific job objectives in the job description for all managers and executives, and rate job performance by these objectives at least annually.
  30. Establish a web-based human resources information center for career progression and training and to reduce the isolation of individual institutions.

Risk Management and Health Care

  1. Establish an Office of Risk Management in the new Department of Correctional Services. *
  2. Establish a position for the Deputy Secretary of this office.
  3. Establish an executive-level Risk Management Committee. *
  4. Establish a Risk Management sub-committee in each region
  5. .
  6. Establish a Risk Management Coordinator position at each institution.
  7. The Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services should develop an annual risk management plan that will provide specific risk management objectives for the department during the next year. *
  8. The Office of Risk Management should approve the type of standardized risk management statistical data collection that is compiled and evaluated monthly by the regional directors.
  9. The executive level Risk Management Committee should meet regularly to evaluate risk factors of employee performance and institutional operations.
  10. The executive level Risk Management Committee should recommend to the Secretary a system for disseminating “lessons learned” that could play a significant role in the department’s risk management efforts.
  11. The Secretary of Correctional Services should receive quarterly risk assessment reports from the Directors of Youth and Adult Operations to assist with planning and strategy development to prevent adverse fiscal impact to the department. *
  12. The Directors of Youth and Adult Operations should convene monthly meetings with their respective regional directors to discuss performance issues and risk prevention measures. *
  13. The regional directors should review the monthly operational performance of their respective subordinate administrators based on department risk management statistical data and provide direction and guidance to subordinate managers.
  14. Youth superintendents, regional parole managers, and prison wardens should conduct monthly meetings with their respective staffs to discuss performance issues and risk prevention strategies. *
  15. The new department should establish an operational memorandum of understanding with the Office of the Attorney General. *
  16. The Deputy Secretary of Risk Management and the Chief Assistant of the Attorney General’s Office should meet monthly to discuss the status of litigation cases.
  17. The new department should revise the California Code of Regulations to identify specific types or issues of appeals that can and cannot be filed at the next level after an appeal is denied.
  18. Develop clear and concise regulations that require wardens, parole administrators and executive staff to be interactive in the appeals/grievance process as a risk management function. *
  19. Develop a training program that provides guidance to Inmate Appeals Branch examiners and Institution/Regional Parole Appeals Coordinator in how to appropriately and accurately respond to inmate and ward appeals. *
  20. Revise regulations and policy to mandate that inmate/parole appeals related to medical/dental/mental health care and treatment be responded to by licensed medical staff at each level of appeal review. *
  21. Develop a networked system-wide appeals database via improved information technology.
  22. Propose legislative changes to the California Government Code to eliminate the applicability of the Administrative Procedures Act to the new Department of Correctional Services.
  23. Revise the California Department of Corrections Operations Manual, Section 12010 to streamline the internal regulation and procedure revision process.
  24. Establish an Office of Health Care Administration.
  25. The objective of the new Office of Health Care Administration should be to establish a new system of health care based on managed care practices.
  26. Establish a top level health care administrator to manage the Office of Health Care Administration, and support this position with experienced program managers, resulting in a new, streamlined central office function. *
  27. Establish program managers at the regional level to manage local health care service delivery.
  28. Conduct a salary survey to demonstrate the salary levels required in order to obtain the experienced managers needed to manage this complex process.
  29. Utilize the Litigation Management section of the Office of Risk Management of the new department to provide monitoring and implementation of court-ordered requirements. *
  30. Establish an agreement with the University of California for the development and operation of a pilot project at a defined group of institutions. This project needs to be managed strategically with the goal of expanding it to the entire health care system of the new department. *
  31. Provide a transitional organization that will establish contracted health care services at the regional and local level in areas where the university pilot project is not yet operational.
  32. Establish a management group with members from the new department with university involvement to plan and implement the transition from current operations to the new planned health care provision. *
  33. Utilize private health care providers for management and provision of all health care direct services by clinical specialty: one contractor to provide for mental health services, medical primary care, medical specialty care, community hospital in-patient care, pharmacy, dental services, utilization management, invoice control, laboratory and x-ray, and necessary clinical staff registries.
  34. Purchase and implement a statewide pharmacy database system.
  35. Transfer responsibility to the Department of Mental Health for mental health care of seriously mentally ill inmates and wards.
  36. Ensure that the private health care provider contracts are managed specifically by designated, experienced program managers in the regions, overseen by program managers in the new central office.
  37. Provide specialized training for custody administration on their responsibilities for assuring inmate and ward access to health care within the institutions. This is an especially critical component when contracted entities will provide direct services. *
  38. Establish dedicated “health care transportation teams” to transport inmates and wards who require higher levels of care provided outside of the institutions. *
  39. Establish a Correctional Health Care Policy Advisory Committee that includes representation from the University of California, the health care community, and state health officials.
  40. Develop a relationship with the Foundation for California Community Colleges and community college registered nursing programs to facilitate recruitment of nurses into the new Department of Correctional Services. *
  41. Develop an interagency agreement with the Foundation for California Community Colleges to provide services for developing and operating a sponsorship program or “20/20” program at several institutions to sponsor nursing students in these community colleges.
  42. Utilize the institutions as clinical sites for local community college nursing programs.
  43. Contract with the Foundation for California Community Colleges to develop a regional registry of nursing services through a Foundation for California Community Colleges “cooperative purchase contract” with a qualified vendor(s).
  44. Require health care programs at each institution to achieve and maintain accreditation by a nationally recognized correctional entity.

Inmate and Parolee Population Management

  1. Begin to create the environment in the prisons that is needed for inmate programs to be effective, which requires the following:
    1. Implementation of a Violence Control Program;
    2. Opening up program space by reducing prison population through lower returns to custody;
    3. Adding staff necessary to implement specific, effective inmate programs;
    4. Exploring creative measures for the use of existing resources.
  2. Develop an interagency agreement with one of the state universities that is active both in corrections education and in research to undertake the responsibility for population projections. Management of this function should be assigned to the new Research and Planning and unit.
  3. Undertake a project to determine the appropriate standard staffing required for the operation of each type of institution, including management, custody, health care and all other programs. *
  4. Charter a commission with appropriate members from the judicial and corrections fields to develop a presumptive sentencing model. The model would apply only to sentences for offenses that are not subject to “two-strikes,” “three-strikes,” or other life terms.
  5. Modify the Penal Code to allow inmates to earn supplemental sentence reduction credits after they complete specified education, vocational, or drug-treatment goals.
  6. Establish a program to identify older inmates who could be safely released early from prison. The program should be similar to the Project for Older Prisoners program that has successfully released more than 200 inmates in other states without a single instance of recidivism.
  7. Renew contracts with existing privatized correctional facilities and consider reentering into contract agreements with previously closed facilities to provide the beds needed for the Level I population.
  8. Provide inmate planning and re-entry assessment at the time of initial incarceration.
  9. Revise enrollment capacity numbers by adjusting for classroom size, availability limits, and projected teacher absences.
  10. Expand education and vocational programs.
  11. Promote education program attendance by implementing presumptive sentencing.
  12. Fully implement the bridging program and evaluate the academic effectiveness and sentence reduction benefits.
  13. Expand college correspondence courses and conduct on going evaluations on their effect on recidivism. *
  14. Continue and expand the Incarcerated Youth Offenders Program. *
  15. Implement on-line college programs.
  16. Track education program participation against parole success (and recidivism.)
  17. Debrief successful parolees during their last scheduled parole agent contact to determine whether education programs affected their success.
  18. Develop a state-wide computer database to track inmate education assessment and classroom achievement.
  19. Continue mandatory participation in the Police and Corrections Team orientation program and consider expanding it to a full day.
  20. Provide job training programs at the Police and Corrections Team orientations when possible. *
  21. Expand the Community Re-Entry Bridging Program.
  22. Expand the in-prison joint venture program and explore creating community-based joint venture programs for parolees.
  23. Expand the Inmate Employability Program.
  24. Continue implementation of the Department of Corrections new parole model.
  25. Consider the use of private contractors to provide specific kinds of treatment in secure facilities designed to maintain the parolee in the community.
  26. Begin preparation for re-entry when the offender enters prison.
  27. Increase the number of substance abuse treatment beds in prison.
  28. Increase the number of substance abuse treatment beds in the community by increasing funding for programs that are proven successful. This could include Halfway Back, Substance Abuse Treatment Control Unit, or other community-based facilities.
  29. Use the needs and risk assessment tool when the inmate first enters prison and design a programming plan that addresses those needs.
  30. Discharge parolees who are determined to be very low risk from parole three months after they are released from prison. *
  31. Consider the use of global positioning satellite tracking for certain high-risk offenders.
  32. Allow both high- and low-risk parolees to participate in treatment and training programs.
  33. Add a quality control feature to the new parole model programs to measure effectiveness. *
  34. Increase focus on casework skills when recruiting new agents and in agent training. *
  35. Develop a comprehensive data collection and analysis system that measures the effectiveness of the department’s parole programs. This system must also link with other department data analysis systems.

Ward and Parolee Population Management

  1. Establish a separate unit in the Office of the Director of Youth Operations to develop and implement educational and vocational training programs proven to be effective in the treatment of youthful offenders. *
  2. Develop a “school first policy” to reduce student absenteeism. Measures to be taken should include a master schedule for each institution that plans activities around the school schedule to avoid interruptions in the school day for counseling, medical, board hearings, and work activities. Non-emergency deviations from the master schedule should require supervisory approval. *
  3. Develop an operational plan to facilitate school re-entry after group disturbances for the use of all institutions and mandate its application. *
  4. Develop a multidisciplinary intervention team to provide assessment, counseling, and incentives to improve school attendance when wards are absent more than three times in any semester.
  5. Determine the most effective teacher-student ratios for general education, special education, and segregated program settings, including an accurate formula for counting wards with multiple disabilities. *
  6. Determine the most effective substitute teacher relief ratio to cover teacher absences.
  7. Institute financial incentives to recruit and employ more dual-credentialed teachers in core academic areas who are capable of instructing both regular and special education wards.
  8. Enhance options for recruiting qualified teachers through a student teacher employment incentive program, such as a 20/20 program providing for 20 hours of work and 20 hours of school per week.
  9. Establish a regular 220-day school year calendar to be followed by all California Youth Authority schools.
  10. Ensure that treatment services provided to wards conform to national standards and are appropriate for addressing the complex problems of youthful offenders.
  11. Provide appropriate assessment and placement and programming of wards identified as suicide risks.
  12. To reduce ward-on-ward violence, develop a research-validated security classification instrument to be used in scoring each ward.
  13. Establish programming for group living environments that effectively promotes pro-social behavior.
  14. Institute system-wide a program similar to the “Enhanced Casework Pilot Program” to improve individual and group counseling services for wards.
  15. Develop treatment services specifically for developmentally disabled wards.
  16. Ensure that effective treatment services are provided to wards identified as sex offenders.
  17. Adjust the sliding fee scale used to determine how much a county pays the state for housing non-violent wards in the California Youth Authority from to more accurately reflect the actual cost of those services.
  18. Grant committing courts sole authority and final review for revoking parole or probation or for extending length of stay at the California Youth Authority for wards in Categories 5, 6, and 7.
  19. Encourage counties to develop joint-use facility agreements or to contract with adjoining counties to provide aftercare services for parole services.
  20. Provide funding in each parole region for entry programs, aftercare services, transition programs such as half-way houses, and alternatives to parole revocation. The services should include employment assistance and short-term substance abuse treatment.
  21. Increase the number of specialized parole agent IIs by eight to provide services for sex offenders and wards with mental health problems. Each field parole office should have one specialized parole agent II to supervise and provide training and resources to sex offenders and mentally ill parolees.
  22. Give counties the option of providing parole supervision for non-violent wards in Categories 5, 6, and 7. The state should subsidize the cost of probation services offered by the counties.
  23. As a result of allowing counties to provide parole supervision for non-violent wards, cut the number of parole agent positions proportionately and allow some of those positions to be re-directed toward the more violent high-risk offenders (Categories 1, 2, 3, and 4) in order to lower the ward-to-parole agent ratio.

Closures

  1. Continue to aggressively pursue improvements to the inmate population projection model. *
  2. If adult inmate population declines according to projections, deactivate prison beds in the following priority: *
    1. Close all emergency triple bunk beds by June 2005.
    2. Close 2,219 gymnasium beds in Level III and IV institutions.
    3. Close up to 4,200 additional gymnasium beds in Level IV, III, and II institutions through 2009.
  3. Effective January 1, 2005, amend Welfare and Institutions Code Section 1769 to restrict the California Youth Authority ward population to those under age 21.
  4. Provide judges with the option of imposing “blended” sentences — both juvenile and suspended adult sanctions— for certain categories of serious offenders.
  5. By June 30, 2004, close the Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility and the Mt. Bullion Conservation Camp according to the existing California Youth Authority plan. *
  6. By June 30, 2005, transfer all female wards from the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility to the Karl Holton Youth Correctional Facility and transfer Ventura’s intensive treatment program, special counseling program, formalized drug program, and other gender-specific programs to the new facility to serve the female ward population.
  7. By June 30, 2005, re-establish the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility as an all-male institution and fill with male wards from the El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility.
  8. Close El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility.
  9. By June 30, 2006, close the Preston Youth Correctional Facility and transfer the wards to the Northern California Women’s Facility, a former Department of Corrections institution, which is presently closed.
  10. Between June 30, 2004 and June 30, 2006, and beginning with open dormitories, reduce the number of wards in living units from 50 to 35.
  11. By June 30, 2009, reduce the number of wards in living units to 25 and decrease staff-to-ward ratio to 1:8.

Labor Contract

  1. The Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services should be responsible for negotiating all matters that involve the management of the department.
  2. Management personnel should have their own bargaining unit.
  3. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association should not be guaranteed a seat on management committees just because an employee the union represents is on the committee.
  4. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association should not be a member of any committee that reviews staff assaults.
  5. The Correctional Peace Officer apprenticeship program should be eliminated.
  6. Training lesson plans should be formulated and implemented by management without prior approval from any outside entity, such as the Correctional Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission.
  7. Adverse action and citizen complaint documents should not be purged from an employee’s files.
  8. Seniority should not be used for transfers, overtime, and assignments.
  9. Longevity pay should be based on time in the department, and not time in the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.
  10. The present 70-30 percent rule for assignments and overtime should be eliminated.
  11. The present sick leave policy should be revisited to ensure that management has the right to inquire and take corrective action relative to sick leave abuse.
  12. The contract section on personnel investigations (9.09) should be revisited. Management should not give an employee a copy of its personnel investigation prior to the conclusion of the investigation.

Information Technology

  1. Consolidate all correctional information technology into one major organizational structure under the direction of a Deputy Secretary for Information Technology, who will act as the chief information office of the Department of Correctional Services.
  2. Establish and incorporate into budget and personnel planning a strategic plan for information technology infrastructure development, maintenance, and replacement.
  3. The Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services must adequately support the Deputy Secretary for Information Technology in implementing a strategic technology plan through personnel and budgetary discipline.
  4. The Secretary of the Department of Correctional Services must require a global assessment of all settlement agreements relative to technology strategic plan impact.
  5. Authorization of new or amended technology projects must identify all costs associated with establishing programs, supporting infrastructure, and maintenance.
  6. Department of Correctional Services information technology and financial management components should establish criteria for determining the need for contracted expertise in technology projects.
  7. Require technology project management training for corrections operations staff involved in chartered technology projects.
  8. All personnel servicing and implementing information technology systems must be hired by and assigned to the Deputy Secretary for Information Technology.
  9. Establish and maintain proper levels of technology support staffing for both existing and new systems.
  10. Establish specific core enterprise-wide databases to facilitate the effective operation of the Department of Correctional Services.

Endnotes

[1] This provision will require a constitutional amendment to allow state officers appointed by the Governor to make more than one exempt appointment.
[2] This recommendation would require a state constitutional amendment and is discussed further in the Appendices to this report under Implementation, Legal Discussions and Appendices.