Report 2016-131 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2016-131: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: It Must Increase Its Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Inmate Suicides (Release Date: August 2017)

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Recommendations to Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
2

Corrections should immediately require mental health staff to score 100 percent on risk evaluation audits in order to pass. If a staff member does not pass, Corrections should require the prison to follow its current policies by reviewing additional risk evaluations to determine whether the staff member needs to undergo additional mentoring.

3

To ensure that it identifies inmates who are at risk of attempting suicide and determines the treatments needed to prevent them from doing so, Corrections should immediately reevaluate and revise its goals for the percentage of risk evaluations that mental health staff must complete on time and for the percentage of risk evaluations that must pass its risk evaluation audits. It should set revised goals that better take into consideration the importance of mental health staff completing adequate risk evaluations in a timely matter. Corrections should require prisons that perform below its revised goals to develop improvement plans.

4

To improve the quality of its risk evaluations, by December 2017 Corrections should develop and incorporate into its electronic risk evaluation form prompts to aid mental health staff in completing adequate risk evaluations that meet all audit criteria.

5

To minimize the number of inmates who spend more than 24 hours in alternative housing, Corrections should use the audit process it is developing to monitor the amount of time inmates spend in alternative housing and annually reassess its need for additional crisis beds.

6

To ensure that prisons document the privileges, such as yard time, that inmates receive while in a crisis bed, Corrections should immediately require prisons to develop and formalize policies to record on their treatment plans the privileges inmates are allowed and receive while in a crisis bed.

7

To ensure that prison staff conduct required checks of inmates placed on suicide precaution in a timely manner, Corrections should implement its automated process to monitor suicide precaution checks in its electronic health record system by the time it is implemented systemwide in October 2017. Further, Corrections should train staff on how to plan for and conduct staggered suicide precaution checks.

8

To monitor prisons' compliance with its requirement that inmates in crisis beds receive daily progress notes, Corrections should implement monitoring of these notes electronically into its audit process by the time the electronic health record system is in use systemwide in October 2017. Corrections should require prisons that are out of compliance to develop and implement quality improvement plans, and it should follow up on the prisons' implementation of those plans.

9

To ensure that prison staff appropriately respond to attempted suicides, Corrections should implement its proposed changes to its emergency response policies regarding cut-down kits by December 2017 and should include in its policies a method for monitoring prisons' compliance.

10

To address the unique circumstances that may increase its female inmates' rates of suicide and suicide attempts, Corrections should Implement its planned same-sex domestic violence curriculum by December 2017.

11

To address the unique circumstances that may increase its female inmates' rates of suicide and suicide attempts, Corrections should continue to explore additional programs that could address the suicide risk factors for female inmates.

12

To ensure that all prison staff receive required training related to suicide prevention and response, Corrections should immediately implement a process for identifying prisons where staff are not attending required trainings and for working with the prisons to solve the issues preventing attendance.

13

To ensure that trainers and risk evaluation mentors at all prisons are able to train staff effectively, Corrections should immediately begin requiring prisons to report the percentage of their trainers and mentors who have received training on how to conduct training and mentoring. It should work with prisons to ensure that all trainers and mentors receive adequate training.

14

To maximize the value of its trainings related to suicide prevention and response, Corrections should ensure that starting in January 2018, its trainings include all content that the special master and its own policies require.

15

To ensure that it has enough staff to provide mental health services to all inmates who require care, Corrections should review and revise its mental health staffing model by August 2018.

16

To ensure that prisons comply with its policies related to suicide prevention and response, Corrections should continue to develop its audit process and implement it at all prisons by February 2018. The process should include, but not be limited to, audits of the quality of prisons' risk evaluations and treatment plans.

17

To ensure that prisons can easily access Corrections' current policies related to mental health, Corrections should ensure that its program guide is current and complete as it works to incorporate the program guide into regulations. Corrections should immediately begin working with federal court monitors to draft regulations.

18

To ensure that suicide prevention teams meet quorum requirements, Corrections should, starting January 2018, work with prisons that consistently fail to achieve a quorum to resolve issues that may be preventing the teams from having all required members present at meetings.

19

To eliminate confusion regarding suicide prevention team meeting attendance, Corrections should immediately update its program guide to clarify who is required to attend suicide prevention team meetings, which attendees may send designees, and the extent to which staff may fill multiple roles when meeting quorum requirements.

20

To ensure that suicide prevention teams exercise leadership at prisons, Corrections should immediately require them to use available information about critical factors—such as the number and nature of inmate self-harm incidents and the quality and compliance with the policy of risk evaluations and treatment plans—to identify systemic issues related to suicide prevention. Corrections should require the suicide prevention teams to assess lessons they can learn, create plans to resolve current issues, and prevent foreseeable problems in the future.

21

To provide the public and relevant stakeholders with accurate information on suicides and suicide attempts in its prisons, Corrections should immediately require prison staff to work with mental health staff to reconcile any discrepancies on suicides and suicide attempts before submitting numbers to the COMPSTAT unit.

22

To ensure that all its prisons provide inmates with effective mental health care, Corrections should continue to take a role in coordinating and disseminating best practices related to mental health treatment by conducting a best practices summit at least annually. The summits should focus on all aspects of suicide prevention and response, including programs that seek to improve inmate mental health and treatment of and response to suicide attempts. Corrections should document and disseminate this information among the prisons, assist prisons in implementing the best practices through training and communication when needed, and monitor and report publicly on the successes and challenges of adopted practices.

23

In an effort to prevent future inmate suicide attempts, Corrections should implement its plan to review attempts with the same level of scrutiny that it uses during its suicide reviews. Corrections should require each prison's suicide prevention team to identify for review at least one suicide attempt per year that occurred at its prison. To ensure that the reviews include critical and unbiased feedback, Corrections should either conduct these reviews itself or require the prisons to review each other. These reviews should start in September 2017 and follow the same timelines as the suicide reviews, with the timeline beginning once the team identifies a suicide attempt for review.

Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

To provide additional accountability for Corrections' efforts to respond to and prevent inmate suicides and attempted suicides, the Legislature should require that Corrections report to it in April 2018 and annually thereafter on the following issues: 1) its progress toward meeting its goals related to the completion of risk evaluations in a sufficient manner; 2 its progress toward meeting its goals related to the completion of 72-hour treatment plans in a sufficient manner; 3) the status of its efforts to ensure that all mental health staff receive required training and mentoring related to suicide prevention and response; 4) the status of its efforts to fill vacancies in its mental health treatment programs, especially its efforts to hire and retain psychiatrists; 5) its progress in implementing the recommendations made by the special master's experts, the court-appointed suicide expert, and its own reviewers regarding inmate suicides and attempts and Corrections should include in its report to the Legislature the results of any audits it conducts as part of its planned audit process to measure the success of changes it implements as a result of these recommendations; 6) its progress in identifying and implementing mental health programs that may ameliorate risk factors associated with suicides at the prisons.



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