BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 926


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          Date of Hearing:  April 22, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          926 (Jones-Sawyer) - As Amended April 6, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill implements an earned-compliance-credit program which  
          provides eligible parolees with the opportunity to reduce the  
          length of parole and direct the savings to job training and  
          housing support for parolees.  Specifically, this bill:  








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          1)Requires the California Department of Corrections and  
            Rehabilitation (CDCR) to establish rules and regulations for  
            implementing an earned compliance credit program, as  
            specified, that provides eligible parolees with the  
            opportunity to reduce their period of parole supervision upon  
            compliance with their parole conditions.


          2)Requires CDCR to annually provide specific information to the  
            Director of the Department of Finance (DOF) and the  
            Legislative Analyst's Office to allow DOF to calculate the  
            annual savings accrued to the state from implementation of the  
            program.  


          3)Establishes and continuously appropriates the Save Communities  
            Grant Program Fund (Fund). The State Controller (SCO) is  
            required to transfer annually from the GF to the Fund an  
            amount equal to the state savings 


          4)Requires CDCR to establish the Safe Communities Grant Program  
            (Program) in consultation with several state agencies and  
            after at least two public hearings.  CDCR is to allocate, by  
            January 1, 2018, monies deposited in the Fund to counties to  
            provide employment and housing support for parolees.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)CDCR one-time costs in excess of $1 million (GF) to modify the  
            existing parolee tracking system to provide the appropriate  
            earned credits on a monthly basis.  


          2)CDCR annual costs in excess of $500,000 (GF) for staff to  








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            administer the grant program.  AB 926 states CDCR shall  
            allocated moneys deposited in the Program to counties.  


          3)CDCR one-time costs of $200,000 (GF), $100,000 to establish  
            the required programs and $100,000 to adopt regulations to  
            provide for the required credit.


          4)Redirection of GF savings in the hundreds of thousands of  
            dollars to the Fund (special fund), and cost to CDCR by the  
            same amount in the form of grants to counties for employment  
            and housing support, and specific administrative costs to DOF  
            and SCO.  (AB 926 species that costs to DOF and SCO shall be  
            deducted from the Fund.)


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  According to the author, "There is a growing  
            momentum among states seeking to safely reduce corrections  
            costs and reduce recidivism.  California has the opportunity  
            to take this policy one step further by reinvesting resources  
            to ensure greater reductions in recidivism and improve  
            outcomes for individuals, families and communities.



          This bill creates an earned compliance credit program that  
            provides eligible parolees with the opportunity to reduce  
            their period of parole supervision upon compliance with their  
            parole conditions.  Savings from the reduced parole  
            supervision shall be reinvested into job training and housing  
            support for state parolees to reduce recidivism." 
          2)Background.  Under current law, most parolees can be  
            discharged from parole early if they successfully complete a  
            certain period of parole and there is not good cause to retain  
            them.  When a parolee serves a period of time on continuous  








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            parole (i.e. without violations, revocations, or absconding),  
            the parole board must conduct a discharge review.  Depending  
            on the underlying commitment offense and the  
            statutorily-imposed length of parole, different time periods  
            apply in determining the presumptive discharge date.  For  
            example, if a parolee has a three-year parole term, he or she  
            is eligible for discharge after one year, assuming the parolee  
            has had successful continuing parole.  Likewise, a parolee  
            with a five-year parole term can be discharged after three  
            years if the parolee has been on parole continuously.  Unless  
            the board acts to retain the parolee after the presumptive  
            discharge date, the parolee is discharged from parole.  The  
            earned compliance credits proposed by this bill will  
            presumably advance the possible discharge dates.





          3)Argument in Support:  The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights,  
            the sponsor of this bill, writes, "There is a growing momentum  
            among states to safely reduce correction costs and reduce  
            recidivism.  Gone are the days of increasing penalties and  
            building supermax prisons - states are now engaging in reforms  
            that downsize the prison apparatus and incentivize and reward  
            positive behavior and participation.  According to a report by  
            the Association of State Correctional Administrators, 6 out of  
            7 state respondents who implemented an earned compliance  
            credit program stated that public opinion on the reduction of  
            community supervision has not been a problem in managing the  
            program.   Further, 6 out of 7 states that have an earned  
            compliance credit program for parolees or probationers have  
            seen reductions in costs for supervision.  Similar to these  
            efforts, AB 926 will help save the state be reducing the costs  
            associated with parole supervision and the costs associated  
            with returns to prison."

          However, staff  points out there will be no savings to the state  
            since the bill requires all GF savings be deposited in the new  








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            Fund for allocation to counties for specific support services.  


          4)Argument in Opposition:  The California District Attorneys  
            Association states, "Requiring the California Department of  
            Corrections and Rehabilitation and Board of Parole Hearings to  
            establish a credit program may sound better than proposing to  
            cut supervision periods in half, but, in reality, that's  
          exactly what AB 926 does. 





          5)Related Legislation:  AB 512 (Stone), pending in this  
            committee, increases the number of weeks of additional program  
            credit reductions that may be awarded to a prisoner.  
          Analysis Prepared by:Pedro R. Reyes / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081