In an effort to find out why California’s recidivism rate for parolees is twice the national average, Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) requested an audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in April 2005 and yesterday afternoon the State Auditor’s office released its findings. “It’s clear from this audit, that under Governor Davis’ administration, the Department of Corrections failed to establish a parole policy that would be effective. They did not focus on establishing performance measurements to determine if the policy is working and rates of recidivism were going down,” said Senator Runner. “Public safety is the number one priority. This is serious and we shouldn’t just be letting convicts stay out of prison that should be sent back to prison. It’s important that we protect our communities.” The audit found that the parole program that was conceived under Governor Gray Davis’ administration and began to roll out in the 2003-04 budget year over-promised the savings that the programs would generate and failed to create necessary benchmarks to measure the success of the program. The purpose of the program was to allow parolees that had committed low-level offenses to be referred to one of the intermediate-sanctioned programs for technical parole violations instead of being sent back to prison. However, the department failed to establish performance benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of the parole policy in lowering the recidivism rate. The department did find that it was not generating the savings that it had promised to deliver. This was when the department decided to increase the type of parolees that would be eligible to be sent to one of the programs rather than be sent back to prison. The department decided to expand the program without any review as to whether the policy was lowering recidivism rates and was in any way successful. This spring, Governor Schwarzenegger put a stop to this parole policy. “I am glad that Governor Schwarzenegger has stopped this parole policy and I hope that this audit will be instructive for the future,” said Runner.
To review the executive summary of the audit, please go to, http://www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/summary.php?id=490