BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION†
September 25, 2001
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr. and Peter Sorenson present.† Cindy Weeldreyer was excused.† County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
a. BRIEFING/Issues Around the Legislation Commonly Known as SB 1145 (Ginger Martin, Administrator, Community Corrections Division, Department of Correc≠tions):
-What are the parameters of SB 1145?
-How is (can) the money be spent?
-Because the State provided the capital to expand jail capacity, is there implied intent that the money (1145) be used for hard beds rather than treatment and prevention?
-How have other counties organized the expenditures of 1145 Funds?
-How is the recent budget note related to the 1145 legislation?
Grant Nelson, Parole and Probation, explained this briefing was as a result of a request by the Board for information on Senate Bill 1145.
Ginger Martin, State Department of Corrections, stated that Senate Bill 1145 is the latest evolution of the Community Corrections Act of 1977.† She noted there are aspects of the 1977 act that included funding for counties to create alternatives to sending low-level felons to prison following incarceration.† She added it also created local community corrections advisory boards that made local plans for sentencing alternatives.† She noted in 1977, counties had the choice of participating in the Community Corrections Act or not, and counties that did received higher funding.† She said that Senate Bill 1145 was in part a reaction to Ballot Measure 11.† She explained that offenders who are sentenced to prison for 12 months or less serve the time locally instead of going to prison.† She noted the changes in the law emphasize the role of local corrections management of felony offenders and communities in planning and developing how the local criminal justice system will manage the offenders in the community.
Martin explained local control was a hallmark of the act.† She said the counties dictate how the dollars would be spent.† She added there was not a state approval process on how the money can be spent and the communities have to determine what sentencing options they want funded, what programs and what level.† She said the dollars were designed to assist the County in managing adult felony offenders, but other uses are permissible if they are related to community corrections activities.† She explained they could be spent on sanctions, treatment, supervision, jail, or as the County sees fit.† She noted that with money that was being locally driven by population, 72% was spent on custody and the rest on community based sanctions.
Martin noted that counties use different strategies to manage their offender populations and dollars.† She noted some counties use graduated sanctions.† She added that different communities have different philosophies about managing offenders.† She added the legislation increased the powers of supervisory authority, allowing the county authority to decide where a person should serve their local control sentence.
Martin explained the budget notes the Department of Corrections has regarding community corrections.† She noted they review actual community corrections experiences and practices on a county-by-county basis and identify the alternative community based sanctions that achieve the outcomes in SB 1145, around public safety and recidivism.† She noted members of Public Safety, and Ways and Means have concern about the cost of community corrections.† They asked the Department of Corrections to look for effective alternatives.
Sorenson asked what worked independently of local control in the recidivism of those communities that had adopted less jail-oriented corrections models, as opposed to the communities with the same population who had adopted a hard bed option.
Martin responded that is what the study would show.† She stated they hadnít done a comparison county by county.† She noted that statewide they hadnít noticed changes in recidivism from the old way to the new way.
Green asked when state and local government would meet on the true cost of housing the criminals.
Martin explained they could look at the actual cost of operating a jail bed and providing a community based sanction.† She said there was a process involving sheriffs and jail managers to determine the actual average jail cost in Oregon.† She said they have an actual average cost in which everyone agreed to use the same method of estimating.† She noted there is still unhappiness in calculating the overall budget for community corrections.† She noted there was a policy decision not to fund 90% of the people who are going to jail.† She said the policy decision had been that distributed money from the legislature is based on 75% of the local control offenders being in a jail setting and 25% being in a community setting.
Green asked why they are holding to a policy that is not helpful if 95% of the sheriffs and local government say this is their experience.† He said they could do it correctly if the actual dollars were administered.† He asked what local governments could do to revise the policy.
Martin said this is the policy of the current governor.† She said there is a philosophy that there is enough flexibility at the local level to control costs differently.† She noted there could be less expensive equally effective options.
Green asked what the intent and expectation of Senate Bill 1145 was by keeping the prisoners for 12 months or less, and if it was equal to the level of funding.
Martin said the reason was to invest in community corrections instead of the prison system.† She said building additional prison beds creates disinvestments for the state.† She noted an advantage of this particular legislation is that it had maintained the investment at the state of community corrections activities.† She said the opt out clause is triggered if the legislature fails to support community corrections at the defined current service level.
Van Vactor noted in the past, the Community Corrections Committee had struggled with SB 1145 and where it should allocate the funds.† He said it was bottom line local control for Lane County on how to spend the monies.
Martin stated they are expected to bring this information back to the emergency board in August or September of next year.† She said they want to see if they could draw out what different counties are doing.† She added they have to look at recidivism.† Also, the department is establishing a Community Corrections Commission that would guide the department on issues related to community corrections in general.
Dwyer suggested that they do more for mental health and give Lane County more responsibility to see whether or not these programs work.† Also, any options they take have to impact programs that are working, instead of those they are not sure will work.
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 2:15 p.m.
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