January 21, 2008
BOARD MEETING DATE:
February 5 , 2008
Honorable Board of Supervisors
Sheriff Greg Munks
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Gender-Responsive Re-entry Program for Women Inmates at the North County Correctional Facility
Accept the report and provide direction on the Gender Responsive Re-entry Program for Women Inmates at the North County Correctional Facility to serve as a Sentenced Inmate, Gender Responsive Re-Entry Program Facility for Women for a period of five to six years, or until the anticipated Maple Street Facilities Replacement Project is completed.
The recommended action aligns with Vision 2010 Commitments Nos. 4, 6, 7, and 8.
The current Women’s Correctional Center (WCC) houses between 135 and 175 inmates each day. The facility - rated by the State for 84 inmate’s total - is limited both in space and design, lacking common rooms for inmate programming or visiting. When the population reaches 155, women inmates must sleep on the floor. The last two years, the Grand Jury has reviewed San Mateo County’s correctional facilities and has recommended improving conditions – both space and inmate program services – for our female inmate population. The recent Women’s Criminal Justice Summit meeting also produced numerous recommendations regarding WCC and the need for a gender-responsive program for eligible women inmates.
The report previously submitted to the Board on September 25, 2007 presented findings outlining eligible inmates for a gender-responsive, in-custody program – which revealed a facility/program need for up to 40 women inmates.
If up to 40 sentenced women can be relocated out of the Women’s Correctional Center and into a specialized program, the following goals can be accomplished:
• Mitigate (while not eliminating) overcrowding at WCC, lowering the daily population range to 95 – 135.
• Eliminate the current need to have inmates sleep on the floor when the WCC population reaches 155.
• Eliminate the need to use the Maguire Facility’s Overflow Housing Unit for women inmates, as the Unit is currently needed for overflow housing for men.
• Increase and enhance programming services for women inmates at WCC. Currently they have to compete for space in the existing Choices program; for use of computers; and for seating in the common area when general program service providers visit the inmates.
• Expand intensive programming services for women inmates beyond the Choices Program which currently has a limited capacity of 26 inmates, and offer a pilot, gender-responsive re-entry program for up to 40 sentenced inmates in a designated correctional facility.
Three options were considered for siting a re-entry program:
a) Mobile trailers on the Maple Street facility grounds – this option was rejected for two significant reasons. First, the mobiles will not meet State CDCR security standards; and second, the Maple Street grounds may need to be cleared for construction to begin on the anticipated new facility, thus resulting in discontinuing the program for up to two years while a new facility is constructed and furbished.
b) San Mateo Medical Center Locked Psychiatric Ward – this secured ward could accommodate up to 40 women inmates, and provide programming space, as well as quick access to medical services. However, we have recently confirmed that this space is under consideration by the Medical Center for alternative uses, and is not available at this time.
c) Sheriff’s North County Correctional Facility (SNCCF) – This facility in the South San Francisco Court/Probation complex can house up to 40 women inmates, and also provides programming space. There are no conflicting site uses. However, some repairs and renovations will be required, as the facility was partially dismantled for use as offices in the 1990’s, and there are some leaks in the existing roof. Additionally, the State Fire Marshal has refused to approve the facility for re-opening until a sprinkler system, upgraded fire alarm system, and kitchen ventilation improvements are made. After improvements are completed, it will then require re-inspection by both the State Fire Marshal, as well as the Corrections Standards Authority.
A tentative program design has been established, drawing on the work of experts in the field of women’s re-entry program needs. An RFI for a program provider was released in November, and evaluation of proposals took place during December to early January. Full details on the programmatic component and the advantages of implementing this women’s re-entry program can be found in the accompanying full report. It is anticipated that with a concerted effort starting now on both the physical plant and the program development components, a women’s re-entry program could be implemented in the Summer of 2008.
The fiscal impact is divided into two components: one-time start-up costs to re-commission the facility, which would be incurred this fiscal year (2007-08) between January to June; and on-going costs to operate the facility, which would begin in FY 2008-09.
One-time re-commissioning and plant repair/renovation costs are projected at $609,380. This estimate was developed in collaboration with Public Works, Information Services, Correctional Health, and Food Services staff, and includes an estimate for fire-related improvements.
Net on-going costs are projected to be approximately $2,179,550. This includes minimum staffing levels of 8 Sheriff’s sworn personnel comprised of one Deputy and one Correctional Officer per team, in four teams which staff the facility on a 7 day 24hr basis. Additionally, one Social Worker position would coordinate all CBO and program provider services for the inmates, and serve as liaison with Sheriff, Probation, Behavioral Health, Medical Services, and other agencies. Total staffing costs are estimated at $1,739,570; the remaining annual costs ($606,960) are for the program provider contract, facility County Service Charges for rent, utilities, telephone and data support, food service for the inmates, clothing, bedding, locks & security, and housekeeping supplies. These latter costs can be offset by $166,980 in existing funding sources, to arrive at the net total cost of $2.18 Million.
The facility would operate for five to six years, until a new jail facility is built and is operational, which will then accommodate re-entry programming for women inmates.