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AB-8 Division of Juvenile Justice: facilities: closures.(2011-2012)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 8


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Huber

December 06, 2010


An act relating to juvenile justice, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 8, as introduced, Huber. Division of Juvenile Justice: facilities: closures.
Existing law establishes within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, under the Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, the Division of Juvenile Facilities, the Division of Juvenile Programs, and the Division of Juvenile Parole Operations, which operate the statewide system governing wards of the court and other persons committed to the department, and the detention, rehabilitation, probation, and parole thereof. Existing law states that the establishment, organization, jurisdiction, powers, duties, responsibilities, and functions of the former Youth Authority are continued in the Division of Juvenile Facilities.
This bill would prohibit the Division of Juvenile Facilities from closing any youth correctional facility for a period of 6 months from the effective date of this bill. The bill would state that it is expected that ongoing activity levels at each division facility shall equal activity levels in place immediately prior to October 20, 2010, and that the number of employees also be maintained at those levels during this period, as specified.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has announced plans to close the Preston Youth Correctional Facility.
(2) The process by which the Preston Youth Correctional Facility was chosen to be shut down remains unclear despite numerous public hearings. Answers are needed before the closure can be allowed to continue.
(3) The Preston Youth Correctional Facility is routinely cited as an example for other facilities and their staff to follow regarding how to properly rehabilitate and manage the youth offender population.
(4) The Preston Youth Correctional Facility is the most compliant with the consent decree issued in Farrell v. Cate. As detailed in the department’s August 10, 2010, Farrell v. Cate Quarterly Compliance Report, the Preston Youth Correctional Facility’s 90.9-percent compliance rate with Farrell v. Cate-related audit items is the highest compliance level of any facility within the Division of Juvenile Facilities.
(5) Closure of the Preston Youth Correctional Facility will also require the termination of the Ward Incentive Program, which is a major component in Farrell v. Cate compliance. Terminating this program will push the state backwards rather than forward with Farrell v. Cate compliance.
(6) The Preston Youth Correctional Facility is the only facility to provide an open environment for rehabilitation and offers programs that other facilities do not provide.
(7) The James A. Wieden High School at the Preston Youth Correctional Facility has a 90-percent graduation rate, which is higher than the graduation rate at any other division facility.
(8) Officials from the division have testified that the closure of the Preston Youth Correctional Facility will not provide any immediate cost savings.
(9) In addition to losing a successful youth correctional facility, the economic impact on the City of Ione and to the County of Amador will be significant. The county has already suffered numerous large business closures. With the department being the largest employer in the county, the closure of the Preston Youth Correctional Facility will be devastating.
(b) In light of the transfer of many juveniles to county custody, the Legislature is mindful that there is a need for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities to downsize in order to meet the needs of a smaller population and budget constraints. Accordingly, it is the intent of the Legislature to shed light on the decisions being made within the department and the division to ensure an orderly downsizing of the remaining facilities and to provide information on how to best serve a dwindling juvenile offender population.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature to put an immediate halt to the closing of any youth correctional facility, including the Preston Youth Correctional Facility in the City of Ione, by the department or the division until the process and procedures that the department and division are using for downsizing the remaining facilities have been made clear and have been scrutinized. If the Preston Youth Correctional Facility or any other facility is slated for closure, it shall be after a transparent and open process that addresses the economic impact of the closure. Each facility shall be analyzed for closure, and the analysis shall identify the benefits and risks to the wards, the public, and the local community.

SEC. 2.

 (a) The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities shall not close any youth correctional facility during the six-month period following the effective date of this act.
(b) It is expected that during the period specified in subdivision (a), ongoing activity levels at each division facility shall equal the activity levels that were in place immediately prior to October 20, 2010, when the department announced its plans to close the Preston Youth Correctional Facility, and that the number of wardens, teachers, officers, administrators, support staff, and other employees needed to run the facilities and programs shall likewise be maintained at those levels during that period. Wards shall not be transferred from a facility for the purpose of decreasing population levels at that facility.

SEC. 3.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has announced plans to close the Preston Youth Correctional Facility in the City of Ione. Closure of this facility will impact the state’s Farrell v. Cate compliance and will be devastating to the economy of Amador County. Time is needed to address the economic impact of the closure and to identify what factors were considered by the department in reaching its decision.