Thursday, June 30, 2011

Governor Brown Signs Honest, Balanced and On-Time Budget

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed the 2011-12 California State Budget (SB 87), dropping General Fund spending to the lowest level in decades, returning authority to local government and closing the state’s $26.6 billion deficit.

The budget makes substantial cuts to government programs and reduces state spending by $15 billion. As a result, California’s General Fund spending—as a share of the economy—is now at its lowest level since 1972-73. The budget also takes critical steps to address the state’s long-term fiscal challenges by eliminating more than three-quarters of the structural deficit, putting in-place a $500 million reserve and making a commitment to secure stable funding for core services moving forward.

“This is an honest but painful budget that returns California’s General Fund spending to levels unseen since the 1970s. We’ve cut our deficit by $15 billion dollars and achieved financial balance this year. This is a huge step forward. But California’s long-term stability depends on our willingness to continue to pay down debt and live within our means,” said Governor Brown.

The budget recognizes that, since the May Revision, California’s tax revenues have continued to increase, providing billions of dollars to help close the budget gap and fund education under Proposition 98. Current projections are that $4 billion in revenue will be collected during the next fiscal year. As a safeguard, however, if these revenues are not realized, billions of dollars in additional cuts will be triggered to maintain a balanced budget.

The mix of cuts and revenue allow Governor Brown to maintain two key budgetary priorities, protecting K-12 education and funding the historic realignment initiative. Realignment stops the revolving door in California’s state prison system by making lower-level offenders eligible for incarceration, alternative sanctions and supervision at the local level, which is believed to be far more effective. Realignment is supported by the state’s police chiefs, peace officers, sheriffs and probation officers.

The budget includes $23.8 million in line-item vetoes.

The 2011-2012 California State Budget, in full, is available at: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Contact: Governor's Press Office
(916) 445-4571

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Governor's New Appointments

Governor Jerry Brown announced today the appointment of Jennifer Shaffer as Executive Officer of the Board of Parole Hearings.  From the press release issued by the Governor's Office this afternoon (which you can also find on the Governor's website here):

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. today announced the following appointments.
Sarita Kohli, 52, of Saratoga, has been appointed to the Board of Behavioral Sciences. Kohli has served as the director of mental health programs at Asian Americans for Community Involvement since 2005. From 2001 to 2003, Kohli was a psychotherapist at Family and Child Services. Kohli is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Kohli is a Democrat.

Jennifer Shaffer, 42, of Roseville, has been appointed executive officer of the Board of Parole Hearings. Shaffer currently serves as the board’s chief of hearing operations for the northern region. Previously, she served in the Bureau of Independent Review with the Office of the Inspector General, as special assistant inspector general from 2006 to 2008 and then as senior assistant inspector general from 2008 to January 2011. Shaffer served with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as assistant director in the Office of Victim and Survivor Services from 2004 to 2005 and then as assistant secretary in the Office of Victim and Survivor Services from 2005 to 2006. Shaffer served as counsel and analyst for California Performance Review in 2004, as staff counsel and deputy executive officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board from 1997 to 2004, and counsel to the Assembly Committee on Public Safety in 1996. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $131,940. Shaffer is registered decline-to-state.

Christina Wong, 44, of Chico, has been appointed to the Board of Behavioral Sciences. Wong currently serves as the health services program coordinator at Glenn County Health Services after having served as a senior mental health counselor from 2002 to 2010. She also serves as a mental health clinician at the Butte County Probation Department. Wong is a licensed clinical social worker. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Wong is a Democrat.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Secretary Cate Speaks at Press Conference on Three-Judge Court's Order

State Responds to Three-Judge Court’s Order Requiring a Reduction in Prison Crowding


Below is a link to the June 7, 2011 Press Conference:
 
http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/3_judge_panel_decision.html

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

State Responds to Three-Judge Court’s Order Requiring a Reduction in Prison Crowding

Calls on Legislature to Protect Public Safety by Funding Realignment

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today submitted a report to the federal Three-Judge Court updating it on prison crowding reduction measures that the state has taken, or plans to take, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on May 23, 2011. This decision requires California to reduce inmate crowding within its 33 adult institutions to 137.5 percent of design capacity within two years, or by May 24, 2013.

“California has already reduced its prison population significantly over the past several years. Today, we have the lowest crowding levels in California’s prisons since 1995,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “Our goal is to meet the Court’s order by continuing to reduce prison crowding while still holding offenders accountable.

“Our current reduction plan does not include the early release of inmates. But it is absolutely critical that the Legislature understand the seriousness of the Supreme Court’s decision and support a variety of measures that will allow us to lower our inmate population in the safest possible way,” Cate added. “AB 109 is the cornerstone of the solution, and the Legislature must act to protect public safety by funding Realignment.”

On May 23, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Three Judge Court’s determination that medical and mental health care for inmates falls below a constitutional level of care and that the only way to meet the requirements is by reducing prison crowding. Complying with the Court’s decision will require implementing and funding of Realignment, as well as new prison construction, to achieve the 137.5 percent goal set by the Court.

Crowding Reduction Deadlines

Today, the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prisons is approximately 143,000 inmates—a reduction of about 19,000 inmates since plaintiffs filed their motions to convene the Three-Judge Court on November 13, 2006. At that time, California’s prisons were at 202 percent of design capacity. Today, the state’s 33 prisons operate at approximately 179 percent of design capacity. California’s 33 prisons were designed to hold 79,858 inmates.

According to the Supreme Court’s decision, effective May 24, 2011, the inmate population statewide in California’s 33 adult prisons must be no more than:

• 167 percent of design capacity by November 28, 2011,

• 155 percent of design capacity by May 24, 2012,

• 147 percent of design capacity by November 26, 2012,

• 137.5 percent of design capacity by May 24, 2013.

Today’s filing outlines the following measures to reduce prison crowding:

Realignment – The Cornerstone of California’s Solution

On April 4, 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill 109, historic legislation that will enable California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of prison.

Under Realignment, the state will continue to incarcerate offenders who commit serious, violent, or sexual crimes and counties will supervise, rehabilitate and manage low-level offenders using a variety of tools. It is anticipated that realignment will reduce the prison population by tens of thousands of low-level offenders over the next three years.

As Governor Brown said in his AB 109 signing message, Realignment cannot and will not be implemented without necessary funding. The Governor also signed Assembly Bill 111, which gives counties additional flexibility to access funding to increase local jail capacity for the purpose of implementing Realignment.

Realignment is supported by law enforcement including the California Police Chiefs Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Peace Officers’ Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, Chief Probation Officers of California, Association for Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs and Los Angeles County Deputy Probation Officers Union and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Legislative Reforms

Legislative reforms already implemented include the passage of Senate Bill (SB) x3 18, which, in part, established the California Community Corrections Performance Incentives Act, created credit-earning enhancements for inmates who complete certain rehabilitation programs, and reformed parole supervision by creating a Non-Revocable Parole category for low-level, lower-risk offenders.

CDCR also transferred about 10,000 inmates to out-of-state facilities. This program would continue as operationally needed. Since 2009, the department has also discharged more than 27,000 parolees who were deported to foreign countries by the federal government.

Increasing Capacity

CDCR has made efforts to increase prison capacity through Assembly Bill 900, passed in a bipartisan vote of the Legislature and signed into law on May 3, 2007. The department has increased design capacity by adding beds as well as treatment space.

Under AB 900, the state is currently planning, designing or constructing:

• A new 1.2 million-square-foot health-care facility in Stockton.

• New high-security prison facilities to be built on existing prison sites.

• New mental health facilities at the California Medical Facility and the California Institution for Women.

• Conversions of former juvenile facilities to adult facilities.

• New re-entry facilities.

In addition to projects that will add design capacity, under AB 900, the state has completed and is planning upgrades that add health care treatment and clinical space.

The full report filed with the Three-Judge Court, as well as other information regarding population reduction measures, is available on CDCR’s web site at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/3_judge_panel_decision.html


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Contact: Oscar Hidalgo
(916) 445-4950