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November BSCC meeting kick starts big projects

On Thursday, November 12th, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) made some substantial decisions concerning the future of corrections in California. First, the Board approved 15 counties to receive $500 million in adult facility construction funding; then it also chose two individuals to serve as co-chairs on the subcommittee (ESC) that will recommend how to distribute state savings from Proposition 47.

The $500 million in construction funding was made available by Senate Bill (SB) 863, which focused on county grants to expand rehabilitative programming space under a sheriff’s jurisdiction. On November 2nd, the subcommittee tasked with reviewing and rating proposals compiled a list of recommended county awards. Of the 32 counties that applied for SB 863 funding, 15 total received funding (six small counties, five medium counties, and four large counties). 

 Small Counties     

 Requested      

 Recommended Conditional Award  

 Amador

 $17,179,000

 $17,179,000

 Colusa

 $20,000,000

 $20,000,000

 Yuba

 $20,000,000

 $20,000,000

 Trinity

 $20,000,000

 $20,000,000

 Humboldt

 $20,000,000

 $20,000,000

 Napa

 $20,000,000

 $2,821,000

 Medium Counties 

 Requested      

 Recommended Conditional Award 

 Butte

 $40,000,000

 $40,000,000

 Sonoma

 $40,000,000

 $40,000,000

 Yolo

 $30,500,000

 $30,500,000

 Merced

 $40,000,000

 $40,000,000

 Placer

 $40,000,000

 $9,500,000

 Large Counties     

 Requested      

 Recommended Conditional Award 

 San Francisco

 $80,000,000

 $80,000,000

 Santa Clara

 $80,000,000

 $80,000,000

 Alameda

 $54,340,000

 $54,340,000

 Ventura

 $55,137,000

 $25,660,000

As the SB 863 funding process comes to an end, advocates, including CJCJ and the ACLU of Northern California, have many continuing concerns about the lack of transparency. Because the BSCC did not make county proposals accessible to the public, there was limited opportunity for community stakeholders concerned about unnecessary jail expansion to review applications. This also inhibited oversight over the programmatic focus of SB 863, including accurately evaluating long-term operations and staffing costs. Additionally, the public was unable to monitor which counties planned to increase bed capacity without demonstrating a commitment to alternatives to incarceration, such as risk-based pretrial services, diversion programs, or partnering with community-based service providers.

Moving forward, the Proposition 47 funding process is an opportunity for the BSCC to rectify these transparency issues. At the November meeting, the BSCC Board appointed two Board members, Scott Budnick and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, to co-chair the Proposition 47 executive steering committee (ESC). The Chairs will develop members for the subcommittee that will create the funding proposal, rate county applications, and ultimately recommend how 65 percent of Proposition 47 state savings are allocated. By nominating community-based service providers and other justice system stakeholders, such as formerly incarcerated people, funding will more likely support local rehabilitation and restorative programming.

Finally, the BSCC is accepting nominations for committee members from now until February 29th, 2015, with the final membership to be confirmed in April 2015. Community leaders, justice system advocates, mental health experts, formerly incarcerated individuals, and many others are encouraged to apply. The BSCC has posted online instructions for those who are interested in joining the Proposition 47 ESC.  

Keywords: BSCC, Erica Webster, jail construction funding, proposition 47, SB 863

Posted in Blog, Correctional Institutions

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