Report 2014-125 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2014-125: California Department of State Hospitals: It Could Increase the Consistency of Its Evaluations of Sex Offenders by Improving Its Assessment Protocol and Training (Release Date: March 2015)

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Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

To promote efficiency, the Legislature should change state law to allow State Hospitals the flexibility to stop an evaluation once the evaluator determines that the offender does not meet one of the SVP criteria.

No Action Taken
Recommendations to State Hospitals, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
2

To improve the consistency of its evaluations, by June 2015, State Hospitals should create a written policy that requires its evaluators to include the following documentation in their evaluations: detail describing all the documentation they reviewed, the offender's psychosexual history, a description of the risk assessment instruments the evaluator used and the scoring tool for those risk assessments, and acknowledgement of the evaluator's review of the DECS report.

Fully Implemented
3

To promote consistency and ensure that it provides sufficient guidance to evaluators, State Hospitals should update its assessment protocol by March 2016 to include more specific instructions on how to conduct evaluations, such as what assessment instruments evaluators may use and what documents they should consider. State Hospitals should also develop a timeline for periodically reviewing and making any necessary updates to the assessment protocol.

Pending
4

To comply with state law, State Hospitals should ensure that it follows the Administrative Procedures Act for future changes to its standardized assessment protocol.

Pending
5

To improve the consistency and completeness of its evaluations, by December 2015 State Hospitals should develop a plan for the formal, supervisory review of evaluations from a clinical perspective that balances the needs of the program with its resource limitations. For example, rather than attempting to review every evaluation, State Hospitals could focus its review efforts on those evaluations most at risk of error or inconsistency, such as those completed by the newest evaluators. If State Hospitals adopts this or a similar approach, it should review the remaining evaluations on a sample basis.

Fully Implemented
6

To ensure that it can demonstrate the consistency of Coalinga's supervisory review of annual evaluations, by June 2015 State Hospitals should direct Coalinga to formally adopt its checklist for reviewing evaluations, provide the checklist to its evaluators, and include the checklist as part of its evaluation process. State Hospitals should also develop a checklist for the evaluations it performs at its headquarters and adopt it as part of its standardized assessment protocol by March 2016.

Fully Implemented
7

To ensure that it has the data necessary to inform its training and supervision of evaluators, State Hospitals should identify the most efficient means for obtaining the outcomes of past trials—at least the outcomes of three years of past trials if possible—and should ensure that it includes such outcomes in its database by March 2016. Additionally, by June 2015 it should establish procedures to ensure that it promptly collects the outcomes from current and future trials. Finally, State Hospitals should develop procedures to analyze these data at least twice annually to identify any trends in cases in which the courts' determinations differed from the State Hospitals evaluators' recommendations. It should use this information to provide training and supervision where they are most needed.

Fully Implemented
8

To ensure that its evaluators, including those at Coalinga, have the necessary training to conduct evaluations effectively and consistently, State Hospitals should complete development of comprehensive training plans for all evaluators by June 2015. In addition, by September 2015 State Hospitals should provide training on the Static-99R and dynamic risk assessment instruments to all new evaluators and those who have not yet received such training.

Fully Implemented
9

To ensure that all its evaluators are aware of changes in forensic evaluations, State Hospitals should provide annual training on updates to risk assessment instruments.

Fully Implemented
10

To demonstrate that it has provided appropriate training and that its employees have received that training, State Hospitals should immediately begin maintaining training records for all employee and contract evaluators.

Fully Implemented
11

By June 2015 State Hospitals should establish a formal process for consistently documenting that it has verified that the individuals it hires as evaluators meet all the minimum qualifications for their positions. State Hospitals should ensure that staff at Coalinga follow the process established in Coalinga's checklist for validating the past employment of employee and contract evaluators.

Fully Implemented
12

To improve its overall effectiveness, by December 2015 State Hospitals should further analyze the rate at which its evaluators determine that offenders meet the SVP criteria. State Hospitals should focus its analysis on evaluations it performed in the most recent three fiscal years because of its transition to civil service evaluators and because of changes to state law have affected how it performs evaluations. State Hospitals should establish what the normal acceptable ranges for commitment rates are and work with evaluators whose findings consistently fall outside that range.

Fully Implemented
13

To ensure that it has an effective method for assigning and tracking evaluator workload, by September 2015 State Hospitals should establish a formal process for periodically reviewing its workload matrices. This process should include periodic assessments of how well evaluators are meeting their workload expectations and whether adjustments would be appropriate. The process should also include input from key stakeholders.

Fully Implemented
14

State Hospitals should explore options for tracking the time evaluators spend on each evaluation activity to increase the accuracy of the workload equivalencies it includes in its workload matrix and should implement such options by September 2015.

Fully Implemented
15

To reduce its backlog of annual evaluations at Coalinga and reduce the number of days these evaluations are overdue, State Hospitals should immediately determine the extent to which its evaluators who work at headquarters can provide assistance to Coalinga. To ensure that it does not develop a similar backlog in the future, State Hospitals should continue its efforts to hire evaluators sufficient to meet its workload.

Fully Implemented


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