Report 2009-107.1 Highlights - September 2009

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation:

It Fails to Track and Use Data That Would Allow It to More Effectively Monitor and Manage Its Operations


Our review of California's increasing prison cost as a proportion of the state budget and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (Corrections) operations revealed the following:

  • While Corrections' expenditures have increased by almost 32 percent in the last three years, the inmate population has decreased by 1 percent during the same period.
  • Corrections' ability to determine the influence that factors such as overcrowding, vacant positions, escalating overtime costs, and aging inmates have on the cost of operations is limited because of a lack of information.
  • The cost of housing an inmate out of state in fiscal year 2007-08 was less per inmate than the amount Corrections spent to house inmates in some of its institutions.
  • Overtime is so prevalent that of the almost 28,000 correctional officers paid in fiscal year 2007-08, more than 8,400 earned pay in excess of the top pay rate for officers two ranks above a correctional officer.
  • Over the next 14 years, the difference between providing new correctional officers with enhanced retirement benefits as opposed to the retirement benefits many other state workers receive, will cost the State an additional $1 billion.
  • Nearly 25 percent of the inmate population is incarcerated under the three strikes law. We estimated that the increase in sentence length due to the three strikes law will cost the State an additional $19.2 billion over the duration of the incarceration of this population.
  • Although Corrections' budget for academic and vocational programs totaled more than $208 million for fiscal year 2008-09, it is unable to assess the success of its programs.
  • California Prison Health Care Services' ability to transition to using telemedicine is impeded by a manual scheduling system and limited technology.

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