August 20, 2020
The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:
As directed by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, my office conducted an audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Corrections), and the following report details the audit's findings and conclusions. Our assessment focused on the Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolees program (integrated services program), which has provided mental health and intensive case management services, as well as supportive housing, to parolees. In general, we determined that Corrections’ oversight of the program was poor. We also found that Corrections will need to take steps to successfully transition homeless parolees with mental illnesses to county services because the Budget Act of 2020 eliminates the program’s funding.
Corrections has not fulfilled its role in overseeing the program, and it has not demonstrated a clear link between the program’s services and reduced rates of reincarceration among participants, one of the Legislature’s primary intentions when establishing the program. Among the problematic conditions we observed were the following:
- Corrections seldom conducted the meetings and on-site reviews outlined in its contracts with providers.
- Corrections chronically understaffed the program.
- Corrections was a poor steward of the public funds it received because it failed to verify providers’ housing reimbursement claims before paying them.
- Corrections could have saved $3.7 million per year had all the providers billed Medi-Cal for eligible services.
Moreover, Corrections lacks comprehensive, consistent data on program participation and services, which makes it impossible to reach conclusions about whether the program met its goals of lowering recidivism by stabilizing the health and housing of the parolees the program serves.
Our review also identified steps that Corrections can take to ensure that homeless parolees with mental illness receive the services they need after the program ends in December 2020. Even with the program ending, Corrections still has the responsibility to ensure that parolees safely re-enter their communities. Corrections faces a difficult task in finding adequate replacements for the program’s services; however, providing its parole agents with training, resources, and support are ways to mitigate the loss of the program and the effects that will have on parolees suffering from mental illness and homelessness.
ELAINE M. HOWLE, CPA
California State Auditor