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The 2020-21 Budget: Effectively Managing State Prison Infrastructure

The Legislative Analyst’s Office has just published the following report:

The 2020-21 Budget: Effectively Managing State Prison Infrastructure
In this report, we (1) provide an overview of the state’s prison infrastructure, (2) discuss the major drivers of prison infrastructure needs and spending, and (3) provide a roadmap to guide the Legislature in the development of a plan to strategically manage the state’s prison infrastructure.

Given the age and poor condition of the state’s prison facilities—which could cost billions of dollars to fully address—and the continued decline in the inmate population, it will be important for the state to prioritize future infrastructure spending and reevaluate the number of prisons it operates. However, the state currently lacks a prison infrastructure plan to guide its near- and long-term decisions. Accordingly, we provide a roadmap to guide the development of a plan for managing prison infrastructure.

First, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to close two prisons. This is because prioritizing prison closure would reduce the risk of infrastructure-related emergencies and litigation as well as achieve additional state savings. To guide the identification of prisons for closure, we recommend directing CDCR to rank prisons for closure based on cost avoidance, operational needs, and their ability to serve inmates, as well as submit a detailed prison closure plan. Second, we recommend requiring the department to develop a strategy for improving the infrastructure at the remaining prisons, including a list of high-priority infrastructure projects that should be accomplished over the next ten years.

This report is available using the following link: https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4186

This article was released by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.