Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bad News Bears for State's corrections agency, or "MORE Bad News Bears for the State's corrections agency"

The California State Controller's Office this morning released its most recent audit of the CDCR, and it wasn't a pat on the back. The State's prison system has become one of the nation's most expensive and worst funded, and in recent months several internal investigations have been launched to root out misspending and abuses (both financial and physical, which is doubly sad).

In the midst of the State's Realignment, and in the wake of SCOTUS's scathing review and injunction last month, Sacramento is finally taking a critical look at prison-corrections costs and detention policies in an effort to (a) not get sued again and (b) save some much-needed $moolah$.

The report this morning points to "grossly inadequate procedures... for collecting overpayment of salaries and travel advances made through the agency’s office revolving fund", says State Controller Chiang. The audit also identifies several cases of mis-appropriation and abuse of public funds. No good, CDCR. No good.

The Controller's findings come in the fourth week of a statewide hunger strike among state prisoners protesting the conditions of CA prisons. The strikes began earlier this month as several dozen inmates at CA's maximum security Pelican Bay prison refused to eat in response to worsening conditions, and has since grown to nearly 400 participants in Pelican Bay and nearly 7,000 statewide as more inmates refuse to take food in solidarity. Authorities at CDCR are increasingly concerned that the dwindling health of these prisoners is creating a "high-risk" environment, and 49 Pelican Bay strikers are now under close supervision (which seems redundant, since it's a max-sec prison).

Meanwhile, local county sheriff's throughout the state rejoice over the fact that they don't have to deal with these crises just yet, and then quickly sadden when they realize that soon it may be their problem too.

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