Bill Text

Bill Information


Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-1999 Conservation camps.(1999-2000)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
AB1999:v91#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1999
CHAPTER 709

An act relating to conservation camps, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  September 27, 2000. Approved by Governor  September 25, 2000. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1999, Dickerson. Conservation camps.
(1) Existing law establishes conservation camps, and provides for the transfer of inmates as specified to be housed and employed therein.
This bill would state findings and declarations of the Legislature regarding the benefits to the state of an expanded conservation camp program, and would direct the Department of Corrections to maximize the availability of conservation camp qualified inmates, subject to specified health and safety requirements. This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to continue to expand the conservation camp program, and would direct the Secretary of the Resources Agency to provide by November 1, 2001, a report to the Legislature and Governor on additional inmate and civilian conservation camp construction or expansion needs .
This bill would also require, subject to the appropriation of funds for this purpose in the annual Budget Act, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to reactivate a 20-person crew module at 17 specified conservation camps in order to provide necessary training, vehicles, and equipment, subject to the appropriation of funds for this purpose.
(2) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) California has experienced dramatic increases in wildfire and flood losses, and in the cost to fight these losses during the last decade. Annual fire losses have doubled in the last five years. Handcrews to fight wildfires or floods and other emergencies are in short supply. On average, California has imported 187 paid fire crews each fire season over the last five years. During the 1999 fire season, the state expended twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) to import and use these crews. During this period, some low-cost inmate crews in conservation camps were unable to assist due to lack of tools, transportation, and supervision.
(b) Watershed health across the state has declined creating a large backlog of environmentally sensitive, labor intensive, restoration work ideally suited for inmate crews and California Conservation Corps crews.
(c) Conservation camp inmates provide a very economical way for the State of California to deal with the foregoing problems while minimizing organizational buildup. Each inmate provides an annual return to the state of over twenty-six thousand dollars ($26,000) in productive work, while costing taxpayers only thirteen thousand dollars ($13,000) per year.
(d) Conservation camps have provided over 2,000,000 work-hours of emergency fire and flood assistance to the state and over 4,000,000 work-hours of resource, environmental, and community service in a single year.
(e) Lower disciplinary and custodial costs result due to the fact that the hard-working emergency response team activities curtail disciplinary problems associated with idle time in prisons.
(f) Shortened incarceration time helps nonviolent inmates who reduce their sentence by performing meaningful work.
(g) Conservation camps provide significant rehabilitation benefits, as recidivism rates are reduced by the opportunity to learn strong work ethics, teamwork and job satisfaction, and by assisting communities, farms, and the state’s natural resources.
(h) Minimum-security conservation centers cost less to construct than “hardwall” facilities and considerably less to operate.

SEC. 2.

 It is the intent of the Legislature to continue to expand the conservation camp program to provide additional beds for low-level inmates and at the same time provide additional capabilities to prevent and deal with fire, flood, earthquake, and other emergencies in the State of California in a more cost-effective manner. Therefore, the Secretary of the Resources Agency, after consultation with the Secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, the California Conservation Corps, and other benefiting agencies, shall by November 1, 2001, report to the Legislature and the Governor on additional inmate and civilian conservation camp construction or expansion needs.

SEC. 3.

 The Department of Corrections shall maximize the availability of conservation camp qualified inmates, subject to all of the following requirements:
(a) Necessary health and safety requirements shall be met at other facilities of the department.
(b) Public safety screening and training conditions and standards shall be maintained.
(c) The need for additional inmate positions at existing, expanded, or new conservation camps shall be considered.

SEC. 4.

 Subject to the appropriation of funds for this purpose in the annual Budget Act, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shall reactivate an additional 20-person crew module at each of the following 17 conservation camps, for the purpose of providing necessary training, vehicles, and equipment: Baseline, Bautista, Delta, Devils Garden, Eel River, Fenner Canyon, Gabilian, Growlersburg, McCain Valley, Oak Glen, Owens Valley, Preston/Pine Grove, Puerta La Cruz, Salt Creek, Sugar Pine, Trinity River, and Valley View.

SEC. 5.

 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:
In order to improve the ability of the conservation camp program to provide emergency services in event of fire, flood, or earthquake at the earliest possible time, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.