Administration of Justice Policy Committee Recap
The CSAC Administration of Justice policy committee met on December 1 at the 122nd CSAC Annual meeting in Riverside County. Supervisor John Viegas, Glenn County and Supervisor Virginia Bass, Humboldt County, presided as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively. The meeting agenda and attachments are available here.
The agenda topics included: how do counties prevent and respond to jail lawsuits; Proposition 57 next steps and possible impacts on counties; federal budget impacts on county criminal justice funding sources; policy committee platform updates and a look at the 2017 legislative priorities.
The first panel focused on how counties should respond to inmate advocacy groups and how to prevent jail lawsuits. The committee heard from Paul Mello and Samantha Wolff from Hanson Bridgett Law Firm; Ben Rice, the General Counsel for Correctional Medical Group and Kimberly Pearson, Deputy Agency Director, Correctional Health Services. The panelists discussed various ways for county officials to prepare in anticipation of a lawsuit, what to do if you are in the middle of a lawsuit, and how to utilize fellow counties as information sources.
Following this panel, Diane Cummins, Special Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, presented on the county impacts of and next steps for Proposition 57. Ms. Cummins explained the three main points of the initiative; how the regulatory and implementation process will be done; and the Administration’s plans for reaching out to stakeholders, including CSAC, to receive input on the regulatory process.
Next, Joe Krahn from Waterman & Associates, presented on the federal budget and which federal criminal justice funds could be at risk with the new Administration. Examples of such county funding sources are Byrne/JAG and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP). While the presentation was a lot of speculation, the information was important for counties to hear as they are looking at the next budget cycle.
Subsequently, the committee unanimously approved the Administration of Justice 2016-17 Platform updates. The updates will be presented to the CSAC Board of Directors for final approval at the February 2017 meeting.
Lastly, CSAC staff provided a preview of the upcoming 2017 legislative session, which begins in less than a month. The following priorities were discussed:
· Domestic Violence Batterers Intervention Program – California’s statute lays out a 52 week mandatory program for all domestic violence batterers, but does not provide structure or guidance to what cognitive behavioral treatments need to be provided to reduce recidivism among this population. CSAC plans to sponsor legislation that will reform this statute.
· Bail Reform – CSAC will engage in the bail reform conversation to ensure that any reforms include a system that uses evidence-based risk assessment tools that create a uniform bail decision process and has public safety as its highest priority.
· Electronic Visiting – Last year the Legislature passed and the Governor vetoed legislation that would mandate counties to provide in-person visiting for all offenders in county jail. While CSAC supports the importance of in-person visiting, there were clear issues with SB 1157 by Senator Holly Mitchell. Governor Brown vetoed the legislation stating that it did not provide adequate flexibility to counties and created a strict mandate. CSAC will actively work with the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) and our local partners on policies that protect counties’ flexibility without imposing mandates.