CRIMINAL JUSTICE COALITION’S AB109 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

ALAMEDA COUNTY COALITION FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

1720 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

510- 893-2404

January 7, 2013

 

Board of Supervisors

Alameda County

County of Alameda Administration Building

1221 Oak Street, #536

Oakland, CA 94612


RE:  Coalition Recommendations Allocation for Year Two Public Safety Realignment Funds and Alternate Budget

Honorable Members of the Board of Supervisors:

On November 19, 2012, the Coalition wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors (BOS), with copies to the Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee (CCP-EC), which included comments, concerns, questions and recommendations regarding the year two AB109 Criminal Justice Realignment Plan and proposed budget allocations.  Members of our Coalition, as well as other from the community, attended the November 20, 2012 BOS meeting to express our comments and recommendations. Members of the Coalition and community also had an opportunity to attend the December 13, 2012 Public Protection Committee to hear further explanations of the budget allocations from representatives of the CCP-EC and to voice our comments.

On January 4, 2013 Coalition members became aware that the Board would again consider action on the allocation of AB109 funds for year two (Agenda Items #34-37B) as recommended by the Chief Probation Officer Harris on behalf of the Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee (CCP-EC) at its upcoming meeting of January 8, 2013.  On Friday, January 4, 2013, the CPO posted an additional letter, five pages in length but with 39 pages of attachments, which contains different allocation recommendations from the CCP-EC than those that were posted the prior day. We acknowledge the efforts of the CCP-EC to address the Coalition’s and community’s concerns in their latest letter around the proportion of funds allocated to community-based services provision.  However, at the same time we must renew our concerns about the lack of transparency and consistency in the CCP-EC’s budget proposals since it lacks the detail about how much of the $22.4 million is going to each institutional partner and how much of the entire budget will go to community-based service providers.  As discussed in our recommendations below, a detailed line item budget proposal will solve this problem.

Given that the budget allocations will be considered by the Board at its January 8, 2013 meeting, and the changes submitted in the supplemental letter of January 4, 2013 we have prepared a set of general budget recommendations as well as two alternative budget scenarios for the Board’s consideration.  Below we outline a set of general recommendations regarding budget process and allocations, followed by two sets of detailed recommendations for AB109 budget allocations. As you will note, some of the general recommendations are the same as those we submitted in our prior letter to you.

One of the goals of our Coalition is for Year 2 funding to be an integral step in a forward moving plan toward a public safety system that meets the needs of our community in future years, and not merely to maintain a status quo that is of the past.

Therefore, it is with some consternation that we view the lack of an overall detailed plan by the CCP-EC.  However, it is indisputable that the general tenor of state policy (and voters’ sympathies) is to reduce the total number of incarcerated individuals, which will necessitate genuine changes in the existing County criminal justice system.  For these reasons, we urge that funding not be used to back-fill positions or maintain existing budgets, but be used to move toward the crux of the issue–promoting successful reentry and reducing recidivism.

 BACKGROUND

We recognize the urgency for the Board to adopt budget year two allocations for AB109 funds.  Two factors drive this urgency. First, and foremost, is the need to get support services contracts procured so that the AB109 population has immediate access to the range of services and supports we know are critical to their successful reentry into the community, and which reduce recidivism and improves public safety. Second, we understand that the expeditious allocation and immediate spending of funds for appropriate programs and services is vital to maintaining those resources in subsequent years in the face of opposition by other counties that argue the higher allocation to Alameda, which they believe comes at their expense, is not needed since we have failed to allocate, let alone expend, the year two funds.  While we are sensitive to this issue, we are not certain that the apparent decision to allocate $18,000,000 to closing the law enforcement budget gap demonstrates and justifies Alameda County’s need for the level of funding we have received. In summary, however, we agree that it is in everyone’s interest to immediately allocate the funds and expeditiously procure the services which promote successful reentry and reduction of recidivism.

GENERAL BUDGET ALLOCATION RECOMMENDATIONS

Below we set forth our general recommendations regarding B109 budget allocations.

Make the current budget decisions to cover only year two allocations and not include year three allocations

  1. We recommend that the Board make decision on January 8, 2013 that cover only allocations for year two and not for year three as recommended by the CPO in her letter of January 4, 2013.

As noted in our prior letter, this is the second year in which the decisions regarding and plan and allocations have been forwarded to the Board well into the fiscal year.  Moreover, as pointed out by the CPO in her letter, the CCP-EC has yet to complete its year one report and we have little or no information on how funds were expended, the specific activities that were funded and what results of the programs and services that were supported by AB109 funds in year one.  The problem of late plan development and budget allocations is not cured by adopting a two-year budget.  Instead, we propose the Board act on budget allocations for only year two and direct the CCP-EC to undertake a process which is designed and scheduled to align the CCP-EC plan and recommendations with the timing of the County’s budgeting process so decisions are finalized in advance of the beginning of the fiscal year.

 Set a minimum level of funding for community-based programs and services & require detailed line item budgets from all County agencies receiving AB109 funds.    

2. We recommend that the Board adopt a formula for AB109 funds which allocates at least 40% of all funds to community-based services provided by nonprofit organizations not affiliated with law enforcement agencies.  This would provide a minimum of $11.68 million from year two funds to community-based providers.

 

We further recommend:

2.1 All County agencies receiving AB109 funds should be required to provide a detailed, line item budget which connects their use of funds to goals, objectives and priorities contained in the Realignment Plan and to provide year-end budget reports which document the expenditure of funds consistent with the plan.

2.2 Any funds going to the Sheriff and Probation should be coupled with cost-saving requirements and effective measures to prevent future deficits necessitating Realignment funds, e.g. reducing pre-trial detention costs, reducing the length of probation.

2.3 Any increase in funding to the Sheriff’s office through realignment dollars should be coupled with a requirement for increased inmate services at jail sites, especially Santa Rita.

We believe that a disproportionate amount of the AB109 funds are being allocated to law enforcement, especially given the decrease in the total number of inmates and the limited number of AB109 or 1170H clients they are serving as a result of  realignment.

We also understand that the large amount of funds that are being allocated to law enforcement include funds to close the prior year’s budget gap.  We strongly object to this use of AB109 funds.

Alameda County should be a pioneer in building authentic community partnerships by partnering with  and funding community-based providers (that are not a subsidiary of law-enforcement) and aside from funds allocated to county and other public agencies such as health care services. This would ensure resources to the community-based and faith organizations providing a substantial portion of the housing and employment services to reentry populations.

3.      We generally agree with the goals set forth by the CCP-EC in the CPO’s recommendation letter, although we disagree with the proposed allocations, especially as they relate to funds for detention and community supervision.  As noted in recommendation 2 above, at least 40% of the funds should be allocated to community-based services provided by community partners.

 

3.1 The current allocation of funds for employment services totals less than 3% of the $29.2 million received by the County for the current year.  We recommend that an additional allocation of $5.25 million be made for employment services.

3.2 The Board should set aside AB109 funds to ensure robust evaluation of implementation overall as well as rigorous evaluation of programs and services.

Allocate funds for the implementation of the Realignment Innovation Fund as proposed by the CCP-EC

While we enthusiastically support the proposed creation of the Realignment Innovation Fund and look forward to its expeditious implementation upon approval of a year two plan and allocations, we do have a few areas of concern and recommendations.

4.      We recommend that eligibility for the Realignment Innovation Fund (RIF) be restricted to community-based, faith organizations and local governmental agencies other than county agencies.  We further recommend that if local public agencies other than county agencies apply for the RIF, they be required to commit matching funds on a dollar per dollar basis and not in-kind contributions.

 5.      We further recommend that the RIF be used to develop tools for documenting and evaluating evidence-based programs and practices and those receiving awards from the RIF be obligated to work with the CCP-EC to develop tools and systems for furthering evidence-based practices and funds be set aside for such purposes.

Adopt the CCP-EC Procurement Committee recommendations regarding procurement

6.      Given the delay in completing the allocation decision making, it is critical that the Board adopt the Procurement Committee recommendations for expediting procurement and to instruct GSA to prioritize the support needed to complete the procurement process so that contracts can be let and services rendered.

Vacate the decision to use $18 million in realignment funds to close the public protection budget gap

7.      Since, as we understand it, the Sheriff’s Office has already received an allocation of $18.4 million from realignment funds to cover their budget gap, we recommend that the request be denied and that the requested $4 million be allocated to community-based services in an effort to reach the minimum 40% allocation of AB109 funds for community-based services as detailed in recommendation 2 above.  We further request that the Board allocate an additional $5.1 million to community-based services to bring the total to $9.1 million and that the Board identify another $2.58 million to reach the recommended minimum of 40% or a total of $11.68 million. See our primary alternative budget recommendations.

Fund the Probation Department staffing request to hire additional DPOs for realignment related activities

8.      We support the recommendation for $1.7 million allocation to the Probation Department.

9.      We recommend that a $500,000 allocation be made to create a position of reentry services coordinator the position be housed in a county agency other than a law enforcement agency.

Specifically identify funds for addressing the needs of those with physical and mental disabilities.

10.  We recommend the Board specifically allocate a portion of its AB 109 funds to the cost-effective legal and social services needed by inmates and former inmates with disabilities.  These services will help stabilize individuals in the community by connecting them with federal benefits, and will reduce the need for spending on costly jails and correctional staff.

11.  We specifically recommend and include within our budget proposals the creation of a disabilities resource coordinator position to work  inside the jail and in the community to ensure  screening and enrollment of  AB109 clients into public benefits programs for which they are eligible and to coordinate screening and service provision for AB109 clients.

12.  We further recommend that the Board to take affirmative steps to ensure that the reentry programs that it administers and funds do not discriminate against persons with disabilities.

13.  We further recommend that the Board reaffirm its commitment to non-discriminatory access to programs and services as well as reasonable accommodations both within county facilities and among service providers receiving county funds.

NARRATIVE FOR ALTERNATIVE BUDGET PROPOSALS

In the attached document (CCP_ACCCJR Budget Proposals_1.8.13final) , the Coalition has prepared two alternative budget scenarios budget for consideration by the BOS which reflect the recommendations above.

Revenues (Lines 1-12)

The first section of the alternative budget begins with an effort to document what the available funding is for 2012-13 fiscal year.  While we understand the new state allocation total $29.2 million, we believe that some supplemental funds from year one remain unallocated and/or unexpended including funds for training and planning.  To obtain an accurate picture of the funds available for year to meet various agency and client needs it is important to have a full and accurate accounting of first year expenditures.

Allocations by Goal Areas (Lines 14-18)

In the CPO’s November transmittal letter she refers to the recommended allocation of funds by goal area which we have entered into the budget document.  In another section of her letter, she details the total amount of the budget going to institutional partners and to community based services.  However, as noted in our budget document, the information available to us does not provide data for us to fill in the cells to determine what  mount of funds are proposed for each goal that would go to institutional partners and community based services.  This is important since it is our position that public protection is not the sole province of  law enforcement and public agencies and that we should be allocating resources to community-based service providers with the explicit recognition that their prevention and intervention services are key components of effectively protecting the public.

Budget Proposals and Recommendations (Lines 21-82)

In this section of our budget document we attempt to post information on the several budget recommendations being made by the CCP-EC as well as the two proposals being made by the Coalition.

First, in columns B and C, we set forth the CCP-EC recommendations on allocations including the purpose (Column A) and amount of each allocation. Column B includes the CCP-EC recommendations contained in the Procurement sub-committee report and approved by the CCP-EC in their October meeting. Column C contains the January 4, 2013 CPO transmittal letter recommendations on allocations. Please note that Column F also contains information on the CCP-EC recommendations as reflected in the transmittal letter of November 20, 2012.

We also have included sub-totals for each public agency as well as our calculations of the percentage of AB109 funds being allocated to law enforcement, community-based services and AB109 administration.  In Columns D and E, we present the primary (D) and secondary (E) recommendations of the Coalition on the allocations of funds.  We note that the January 4, 2013 CCP-EC recommendations do not contain the detail needed to mount the specific allocation data into the spreadsheet.  We highlight our continuing concern and recommendations regarding the necessity of budget allocation recommendations containing sufficient line item detail to determine the specific uses being proposed for the funds.  See our recommendation #2 on page 2.

Column F contains our notes regarding specific purposes for which the funds should be used as well as recommendations about what agency or organization should administer and manage the funds, especially where they entail the hire of personnel to support AB109 reentry services.  As we did with the CCP-EC recommendations in Column B, we have included sub-totals and percentages in our recommendations so that the reader can readily see where the proposed allocations stand relative to our recommendation that at least 40% of all funds be allocated to community-based service providers.

As the reader reviews our primary recommendations contained in Column D, our proposed allocations would exceed the minimum 40% level of funding for community based provision of programs and services, allocating almost 55% to these purposes.  Of special note is our proposal that a considerably higher proportion of all funds should be allocated to behavioral health care, employment and housing than is currently being recommended by the CCP-EC.  We also have recommended an allocation to probation for the hire of a realignment services coordinator and a disabilities services coordinator, as well as funds for evaluation and data systems development.

Secondary Budget Allocation Recommendations (Column E)

Our secondary recommendations are being offered over the objection of some Coalition members who vehemently oppose the use of any AB109 realignment funds to close public protection budget gaps, arguing that it is an inappropriate use of AB109 funds and, further, that such allocations are not justified in terms of documented additional costs to county public protection agencies.  However, in an effort to address the possibility that the funds have already been expended and the BOS is restricted in altering that prior decision, we offer the secondary proposal.  As reflected in Column E, we have reduced the amount of allocation for deficit reduction to $11 million, provided an additional $5.0 million to the Sheriff and Probation Departments leaving a total of $11.6 million for community-based services as detailed in the specific allocations.  We note that this proposal yields on slightly less than 40% of the AB109 allocation to community-based services.

We continue to express our interest and willingness to work with the Board of Supervisors, the CCP-EC and other county agencies to ensure that Alameda has an exemplary plan which uses funds effectively to improve public safety and reduce recidivism.  We believe this can be best accomplished by the recommendations we have set forth above and by the Board adopting our recommended allocations so that we can proceed expeditiously with the procurement process.

 

Thank you for your attention to these matters.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Junious Williams, Urban Strategies Council

On behalf of the Coalition

 

 

cc:

Susan Muranishi, County Administrator

LaDonna Harris, Chief Probation Officer

Members of the Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee

Board of Supervisors Public Protection Staff

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