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California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Several Poor Administrative Practices Have Hindered Reductions in Recidivism and Denied Inmates Access to In‑Prison Rehabilitation Programs

Report Number: 2018-113

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California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

January 10, 2019

Elaine M. Howle
State Auditor
California State Auditor's Office
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Ms. Howle,

Attached is the California Prison Industry Authority's (CALPIA) response to the findings and recommendations in the California State Audit draft report titled "California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Its Poor Administrative Practices Have Hindered Reductions in Recidivism and Denied Inmates Access to In-Prison Rehabilitation Programs."

CALPIA's program goal is to support the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) public safety mission, by providing offenders job skills, good work habits, basic education and job support in the community, so that, when they are released, they never return to prison.

We are pleased that the California State Auditor's (CSA) office recognizes the benefits of CALPIA's Career Technical Education Programs, which have some of the lowest recidivism rates in the country. CALPIA's offender programming saves taxpayers money through lower recidivism along with keeping prisons and communities safer.

We appreciate the recommendations the CSA has made regarding improvements to low inmate enrollment in CALPIA vocational programs. We want to ensure more inmates benefit from the real-world job skills and nationally recognized accredited certifications CALPIA programs provide. Their success is our success. We are grateful for the extended time the CSA has taken to conduct the audit.

If you have any questions or need for additional information, please contact me at (916) 358-2699.


General Manager

cc: Prison Industry Board
Kathleen Allison, Undersecretary, Operations
Diana Toche, Undersecretary, Health Care Services
Kenneth J . Pogue, Undersecretary, Administration & Offender Services

January 11, 2019

Ms. Elaine M. Howle, State Auditor
California State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Ms. Howle:

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) submits this letter in response to the California State Auditor's (CSA) audit of CDCR's in-prison rehabilitation programs.


CDCR considers rehabilitation one of its highest priorities. In the most recent fiscal years following California's historic recession, CDCR placed significant focus on re-establishing rehabilitative programs statewide. CDCR continues to champion a culture focused on rehabilitation that addresses the critical needs of the Department's population. CDCR's rehabilitation efforts go beyond the in-prison Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) programs which are the main focus of the CSA's report. As stated in the report, CBT programs comprise just 26 percent of all rehabilitative programs; the remaining 74 percent comprise academic and career technical education. CDCR believes that robust in-prison rehabilitation opportunities followed by aftercare are essential to holistically addressing the criminogenic needs of the offender population and truly impacting recidivism.


CSA's report on CDCR's in-prison programming highlights areas where CDCR is already taking action to improve. Moreover, CDCR's significant efforts in recent fiscal year go beyond those raised in the report. These current efforts include:

1. Creation of in-prison cognitive behavioral treatment program accountability and fidelity tools.
In collaboration with external researchers, CDCR has developed and is currently implementing program accountability and fidelity tools. Research shows that fidelity can significantly impact the efficacy (recidivism effects) of programming. CDCR believes that ensuring vendors adhere to the fidelity of the implemented models will produce reductions in recidivism.

2. Modification to in-prison CBT contracts.
CDCR is already in the process of finalizing future treatment contract language to ensure that CDCR vendors are delivering treatment programming consistent with the highest likelihood for positive outcomes.

3. Development and implementation of technology tools aimed at improving offenders' engagement in rehabilitative programs.
In the previous fiscal year, data analytic tools were developed and implemented to ensure that CDCR staff have the ability to prioritize offender placement into programming. Additionally, weekly and detailed monthly reports have been developed to further monitor performance expectations at the local level. These tools, combined with planned technology initiatives in 2019, will help ensure that the right offenders are getting into the right programs at the right time.

4. Expansion and development of career technical education.
CDCR will continue to work in collaboration with Prison Industry Authority to establish career technical education programs that best prepare inmates for employment and success upon reentry.

5. Conduct research on CDCR rehabilitative programs.
CDCR will continue the development of partnerships with external researchers to allow for output and outcome-based research opportunities that demonstrate the full impact of programming on the offender population. As noted in the audit, because of recent expansions, CDCR has continued to focus on a number of priority issues critical to robust research, including data collection, data extraction, and program accountability and fidelity.

CDCR welcomes the insights provided by the auditors and would like to thank CSA for their work on this report. CDCR will address the specific recommendations in a corrective action plan within the timelines outlined in the report. If you have further questions, please contact me at (916) 323-6001.


Secretary (A)



To provide clarity and perspective, we are commenting on the response from Corrections. The numbers below correspond to the numbers we have placed in Corrections' response.


The main focus of the audit report was not Corrections' CBT programs. We discussed its academic and vocational education programs (starting here), and its volunteer rehabilitation programs here. Furthermore, we analyzed Corrections' wait-list process for all program types, including academic and vocational education. We also reviewed Corrections' policies and procedures as they pertained to all types of rehabilitation programs. CBT was the main focus of only a portion of our analysis. Specifically, as we state in the report, we analyzed whether CBT programs reduced recidivism rates because the majority—70 percent—of the State's recent expansion of its rehabilitation programs budget was solely for expanding CBT to all prisons.


We acknowledged in the audit report many of the steps Corrections has taken to improve its rehabilitation programs. Specifically, we discuss the program accountability tools it developed in conjunction with UC Irvine and the modifications it plans to make to its CBT contracts. We also discuss the program's checklist it plans to implement.

California Rehabilitation Oversight Board

January 10, 2019

Elaine M. Howle, CPA
California State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Its Poor Administrative Practices Have Hindered Reductions in Recidivism and Denied Inmates Access to In-Prison Rehabilitative Programs

Dear Ms. Howle:

Thank you for including the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board (C-ROB) in your recent audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) rehabilitative programming. We appreciate the work your office has done in preparing this audit. We also appreciate that you realize this board lacks the resources, funding and legislative authority necessary to implement the recommendations set forth in the audit report.


Roy W. Wesley

cc: C-ROB Board

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