Subject: Studies in the News 06-35 (August 9, 2006)

Studies in the News:
Adult Corrections and Rehabilitation Supplement

Contents This Week

   Conflict of interest in prison contracts
   Correctional health care deteriorating
   Receiver's report on prison health care
   Audit of correctional healthcare
   Reforming California's correctional system
   Understanding California corrections
   Criminal neglect
   Using restorative justice
   Re-entry of prisoners to the community
   Problems plagued parole plan
   Prisoner re-entry challenges
   Families' role in reentry
   Serious and violent offender re-entry initiative
   Strategies for reducing recidivism
   Housing dangerous prisoners
   Effectiveness of supermax prisons
   Review of correction agency reorganization
   Downsizing prisons
   Prison reform effort abandoned
   Correctional officers response to report
   Governor's response to report
   Improving the probation system
   Problems of women on parole
   Re-entry programs for women
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Department of Corrections: It Needs to Better Ensure Against Conflicts of Interest and to Improve Its Inmate Population Projections. By the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) September 2005. 62 p.

Full Text at:

["The Department of Corrections awarded contracts in a competitive bidding process to reopen several private prisons.... The audit found that one operator failed to disclose that two of its employees had been high-ranking state prison officials but cleared another firm of any conflict." Los Angeles Times (September 14, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S53502]

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Marciano Plata, et al. v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. 01-1351. Correctional Expert's Report Re Clinical Staffing. November 14, 2005. 35 p.

["Because of soaring vacancy rates for doctors, nurses and supervisors, the California prison health care system is 'disintegrating' and requires emergency intervention by both the federal court and the governor.... 'State officials have no coherent or realistic plan to implement corrective actions. Given the steady loss of necessary clinical personnel, it has become apparent that without orders from the court, the department's health care system may simply collapse.'" San Francisco Chronicle (November 15, 2005) A1.]

[Request #S54401]

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Marciano Plata, et al. v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. 01-1351. Receiver's First Bi-Monthly Report. July 5, 2006.

["Shifting incapacitated, terminally ill and other sick inmates to hospital beds would thin the incarcerated population, [Robert] Sillen said in a letter outlining his proposal, and ensure that ailing prisoners get the care they are not getting now. 'Why spend the money twice?' said Sillen, who assumed his post in April. 'The receivership plans to fill the need for medical facilities regardless of whether the state decides to collaborate." Los Angeles Times (July 27, 2006) 1.]

Report. 37 p.

Appendix of Exhibits. 172 p.

[Request #S63501]

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California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations: Review Report: Healthcare Delivery System. By the Division of Audits, California State Controller's Office. (The Office, Sacramento, California) August 2006. 39 p.

Full Text at:

["An audit found rampant waste in how California's prison health care system spends money on outside doctors, nurses and laboratories....The rise in overall costs is too great to be explained by normal increases in health care services.... Controller Steve Westly said he will ask the state attorney general to consider bringing criminal charges against unnamed doctors and others whose actions are detailed in the audit. He will also seek compensation." San Diego Union-Tribune (August, 3, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S63502]

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Reforming Corrections. By the Independent Review Panel on Corrections. (The Panel, Sacramento, California) July 1, 2004. Various pagings.

["California's $6-billion dollar correctional system, once a national model, is a failure on most fronts and should be placed under the control of a civilian commission, a report by a team of experts conclude." Los Angeles Times (July 2, 2004) A1.]

[Request #S3465]

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Understanding California Corrections. By Joan Petersilia, University of California, Irvine. Prepared for the California Policy Research Center, University of California. (The Center, Berkeley, California) May 2006.

["This report summarizes existing data and makes several suggestions for policy changes related to the shift toward rehabilitation. 1) Restore discretion to prison release decisions so that inmates feel that responsible behavior is rewarded and so officials can deny early release to those considered dangerous. 2) Employ parole supervision in a more selective way, so that parole is used for higher-risk offenders. 3) Criminally prosecute parolees’ new crimes rather than using the administrative parole revocation route as an expedient and inexpensive fix. 4) Prioritize the delivery of substance abuse, education, and job training programs."]

Report. 88 p.

Brief. 4 p.

[Request #S63002]

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"Criminal Neglect: Series." IN: Daily Bulletin (July 22-25) A1+

Full Text at:

[Includes: Prison Health Care System Ailing;" Crumbling Buildings a Threat to Safety and Security;" " Officials: Former Prison Doctor Made Error after Error;" " Retaliation Becomes a Way of Life;" "State Prison's Problems Ignored for Decades;" "Years of Indifference Turns Chino Prison Dream into a Nightmare; State's Prison System Drowning in Scandals;" "As Union's Influence Grows, So Does Its Share of Blame;" " Crumbling buildings a threat to safety, security;" and others.]

[Request #S63514]

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Balanced and Restorative Justice: A Manual for California. By the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, Administrative Office of the Courts. (The Office, San Francisco, California) 2006. 97 p.

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["A growing body of evidence indicates that balanced and restorative justice processes work to strengthen offenders’ sense of responsibility and connections to the community. Through these approaches offenders come face-to-face with the consequences of their actions and are given an opportunity to repair the harm to their victims, to the community whose sense of safety and security has been damaged, and to their own sense of self-worth. At the same time, restorative justice gives victims a real opportunity to be heard and to heal."

[Request #S63508]

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Report on the Re-entry Policy Council: Charting the Safe and Successful Return of Prisoners to the Community. By the Re-Entry Policy Council and others. (The Council, Washington, DC) 2005.

["Re-entry is the process of transition that individuals make from prison or jail to the community.... Budget crunches in every state have made it nearly impossible for lawmakers and governors to address this issue by simply building more prisons and jails; to control the soaring cost of corrections in their respective jurisdictions policymakers and elected officials must find ways to ensure that the transition people make from prison or jail to the community is safe and successful."]

Report Preview. 24 p.:

Full Report. 658 p.:

[Request #S51005]

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California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: The Intermediate Sanction Programs Lacked Performance Benchmarks and Were Plagued with Implementation Problems. By the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) November 2005. 67 p.

Full Text at:

["A state audit of 'new parole models' found that 242 offenders were convicted on new felonies committed when they otherwise would have been in prison.... The offenses were committed by parolees who had violated the terms of their releases but had been placed in halfway houses or in drug-treatment programs that the prison department put in place last year as alternatives to re-incarceration. But Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman J.P. Tremblay said that not all of the 242 offenders necessarily would have been re-incarcerated under the old policy. Some of them might have been continued on parole without being placed in the programs." Sacramento Bee (November 11, 2005) A3.]

[Request #S54402]

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Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry: Research Findings from the Urban Institute’s Prisoner Reentry Portfolio. By Demelza Baer and others, Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) January 2006. 26 p.

Full Text at:

["The Urban Institute launched an ongoing investment in prisoner reentry research to better understand the pathways of successful reintegration, the social and fiscal costs of current policies, and the impacts of incarceration and reentry on individuals, families, and communities. Over the past six years, the Urban Institute’s reentry research portfolio has informed a broad set of policy and practice discussions about the challenges facing former prisoners. The Institute’s research includes a range of studies, from rigorous program evaluations to strategic planning partnerships with state and local jurisdictions."]

[Request #S63503]

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The Front Line: Building Programs that Recognize Families' Role in Reentry. By Mike Bobbitt and Marta Nelson, Vera Institute of Justice. (The Institute, New York, New York) September 2004. 8 p.

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["Practitioners’ anecdotal experiences suggest that families can be a powerful force for positive change for members making the difficult transition from institutional life back to the community. Fulfilling that role is not always easy, but with assistance, some families can provide critical material and emotional support during reentry. And they can be powerful partners to governments."]

[Request #S63509]

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Overview of the Serious and Violent Offender Re-entry Initiative. By Laura Winterfield, Urban Institute and Susan Brumbaugh, RTI International. AND Faith-Based Involvement: Findings from the SVORI Multi-Site Evaluation. By Christine Lindquist and Susan Brumbaugh, RTI International. (Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina) January 2006.

["The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) is a comprehensive collaborative effort that focuses on serious and violent juvenile and adult offenders. This unprecedented national response is intended to help states better use their correctional resources to reduce recidivism.... SVORI services begins in prison, moves to a structured reentry phase before and during the early months of release, and continues for several years as released prisoners take on increasingly productive roles in the community."

Overview. 2 p.

Faith-Based Involvement. 2 p.

[Request #S63510]

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Current Strategies for Reducing Recidivism. By Lise McKean and Charles Ransford, Center for Impact Research. (Developing Justice Coalition, Chicago, Illinois) August 2004.

["Limitations in data on recidivism and program evaluation make it impossible to directly compare states and specific programs for their effects on recidivism. Therefore an approach was adopted that reviewed published data and evaluations on programs for inmates and released inmates throughout the U.S.... The three components for programs in prison and for aftercare programs in the community that are most frequently cited as key to reducing recidivism include: 1) Substance abuse treatment, 2) Education and 3) Employment services."]

Report. 31 p.

Executive Summary. 7 p.

[Request #S63511]

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Forecasting Dangerous Inmate Misconduct. By Richard A. Berk and others, University of California, Los Angeles. Prepared for the California Policy Research Center, University of California. (The Center, Berkeley, California) February 2006. 13 p.

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["Even if the Department of Corrections could forecast more accurately which prisoners are likely to commit serious offenses, the capacity of the state's highest-security prisons 'would be substantially exceeded.' An effective three-level security system would house perhaps 90% of the inmates in the lowest security level. The remaining 10% of inmates who posed a serious threat to staff and to each other would then be housed in one of two very-high-security settings, depending on whether they were among the 'worst of the worst.' "]

[Request #S61302]

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Evaluating the Effectiveness of Supermax Prisons. By Daniel P. Mears, Florida State University. (The Urban Institute, Washington, DC) March 2006. 89 p.

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["During the past 20 years, super-maximum-security prisons have become a common feature of the corrections landscape. Little is known, however, about the goals or unintended effects associated with these prisons. Even less is known about how they achieve particular goals.... Supermax prisons may in fact prove to be an effective corrections management tool, one that is cost-effective and that achieves outcomes that no other approach can. The results of this study suggest otherwise, however." Urban Institute Update (May 18, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S62803]

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Reconstructing Government: A Review of the Governor's Reorganization Plan: Reforming California's Youth and Adult Correctional Agency. By the Little Hoover Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) February 2005. 50 p.

Full Text at:

["This review includes a summary of the plan, an analysis of the plan's strengths and weaknesses, the Commission's conclusions, and recommendations for pursuing additional reform opportunities."]

[Request #S63504]

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Downsizing Prisons: How To Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration. By Michael Jacobson. (New York University Press, New York, New York) 2005. 292 p.

["The U.S. now locks up a higher percentage of its population than any other country in the world.... Jacobson argues that our prison system needs a massive overhaul. Moreover, given the dire budget shortfalls facing most states, there really is no choice. The book examines specific ways that states have begun to transform their prison systems." NOTE: Downsizing Prisons... is available for loan.]

[Request #S63505]

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Alejandro Madrid, et al. v. James Tilton, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. 90-3094. Special Master's Draft Report Re: Status of State of California Corrective Action Plans for Administrative Investigations and Discipline; Recommendations. June 21, 2006. 39 p.

Full Text at:

["While [the report noted] that internal affairs procedures are much improved, he said that 'a recent series of disturbing events signals an abrupt reversal of policy by the governor's office, a retreat from prison reform that may threaten the court's ability to enforce' the changes called for in internal affairs.... The report calls for public hearings to determine if recent actions by the governor's office are interfering with court-mandated changes. It will be up to the judge to the order the hearings, which would require testimony under oath." San Francisco Chronicle (June 22, 2006) A1.]

[Request #S63003]

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Alejandro Madrid, et al. v. James Tilton, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. 90-3094. Intervenor California Correctional Peace Officers Association's Response to Special Master's Draft Report. July 7, 2006. 20 p.

["CCPOA spokesman Lance Corcoran said the union welcomed [Special Master] Hagar's recommendation of ongoing public hearings so the special master's unnamed sources can be sworn under oath and compelled to testify under penalty of perjury. 'At least we had signed declarations,' Corcoran said. 'Everything else is rumor and innuendo. How am I supposed to fight ghosts?'" Sacramento Bee July 13, 2006 A1.]

[Request #S63506]

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Alejandro Madrid, et al. v. James Tilton, et al. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. 90-3094. Amicus Curiae Letter Brief of the Office of the Governor. July 7, 2006. 17 p.

["Governor Schwarzenegger's legal affairs secretary, Andrea Lynn Hoch, responded to last month's draft report by Special Master John Hagar that accused the administration of thwarting prison reform by cuddling up to the politically powerful correctional officers' union. Hoch's letter blasted Hagar for 'incredibly' not including in his report any details of a conversation he had with cabinet secretary, Fred Aguiar, before the special master's draft report came out on June 21." Sacramento Bee (July 10, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S63507]

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Probation Services Task Force Final Report. By the Probation Services Task Force. (Administrative Office of the Courts, San Francisco, California) June 2003.

["The task force made great strides toward an improved probation system by examining the history of probation, its current operation throughout the state, and the significance of its work within the context of the justice system. From this study, the task force developed 17 specific recommendations. While this effort greatly developed the body of knowledge and represents perhaps the most comprehensive examination of California’s probation system in recent memory, substantial work to fully implement the vision of the task force remains."]

Report. 549 p.

Executive Summary. 10 p.

[Request #S63512]

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Breaking the Barriers for Women on Parole. By the Little Hoover Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) December 2004. 110 p.

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["In this report, the commission examines the state’s efforts to break the cycle of violence, crime and addiction by female offenders. This review further validates the overarching need for improving the correctional system, and for pioneering those reforms by developing a better correctional strategy for women."]

[Request #S4635]

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"Empowerment Not Entrapment: Providing Opportunities for Incarcerated Women to Move Beyond 'Doing Time.'" By Barbara H. Zaitzow. IN: Justice Policy Journal, vol. 3, no. 1 (Spring 2006) pp. 1 - 24.

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["The popularity of imprisonment as a sanctioning tool has significant implications for corrections, which traditionally has allocated few resources for institutional or communitybased programs for female offenders.... A critical assessment of current prison programs for women is necessary to move beyond the mere acceptance of limited program offerings as a means to manage the 'doing time' experience toward a realistic re-entry approach that promotes the successful reintegration of women offenders."]

[Request #S63513]

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