The Department of the Youth Authority operates 11 institutions (including two reception centers) and six conservation camps throughout the state. The budget includes $26.4 million from the General Fund for the department's capital outlay program in 2000-01. The estimated future cost to complete these projects is $15.3 million. The budget includes the following proposals.
Of the 18 major capital outlay projects in the budget, 11 were previously funded for preliminary plans and/or working drawings. The budget proposes to fund the working drawings and/or construction phases for these projects. The seven other major projects are proposed for initial funding.
We have identified issues with the projects discussed below.
We recommend the Legislature approve $9,584,000 of funding requests for working drawings and/or construction of four projects pending completion of preliminary plans consistent with schedule requirements previously agreed to by the Legislature.
The Governor's budget includes funding requests for working drawings and/or construction of four continuing projects that total $9,584,000 for which preliminary plans were funded in prior years. These proposals are summarized in Figure 1. These requests are all consistent with projects as previously approved by the Legislature. However, preliminary plans are not yet complete and the current scope and cost have therefore not been verified. Thus, we recommend approval of these projects contingent on the receipt of completed preliminary plans that are consistent with the scope and cost previously approved by the Legislature.
|Department of the Youth Authority
Projects Recommended for Approval Contingent on Preliminary Plan Completion
|(Dollars in Thousands)|
|Item 5460-301-0001||Project Description||Phase
|Budget Amount||Scheduled Completion|
|(13)||Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility (YCF)-- replace Taft Adjustment Center||WC||$2,903||5/00|
|(17)||Heman G. Stark YCF--modify window screens||C||3,103||2/00|
|(18)||Heman G. Stark YCF--fire alarm system, Education||C||1,916||2/00|
|(19)||Heman G. Stark YCF--ward room security lighting||C||1,662||2/00|
|a C=construction and W=working drawings.|
We recommend the Legislature delete $336,000 requested to convert existing Intensive Treatment Program space to Specialized Counseling Program space because the department has not justified any additional facility requirements for the program. (Delete $336,000 under Item 5460-301-0001 .)
The budget includes a request for $336,000 for preliminary plans and working drawings to alter an existing building for 50 Specialized Counseling Program (SCP) beds at the Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic in Norwalk. The project is to convert the 50-bed Marshal Living Unit, currently used for the Intensive Treatment Program (ITP), upon completion of an ITP facility currently under construction. The proposal is to "harden" the unit, which includes modification of shower areas, removal of floor tile, reinforcing cells, and replacing sinks, toilets, and desks. The estimated future cost of the proposed project is about $3.2 million.
The department offers a range of mental health services to wards. The most severely affected wards receive clinical services through Correctional Treatment Centers until their condition stabilizes. Wards are then placed in the ITP until their condition improves and they can be moved to the SCP. From the SCP, the wards return to the general population in the institution.
It is not clear why the Marshall Unit needs to be altered for the SCP activities. The unit currently houses wards in the ITP who, as noted above, as their condition improves move to the less intensive SCP. Thus, it is not clear why this unit would need to be "hardened" for the less intensive program. In addition, the department has not provided information to substantiate the need for either the amount requested or the estimated future cost. Consequently, we recommend the Legislature delete $336,000 under Item 5460-301-0001 (3).
We recommend the Legislature delete $1,778,000 requested for construction of a correctional treatment center at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility because preliminary plans are not complete, and construction funds will not be needed in the budget year. (Delete $1,778,000 under Item 5460-301-0001 ).
The budget proposes $1,778,000 for construction of a correctional treatment center at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. A total of $186,000 was provided for preliminary plans and working drawings in the 1998-99 Budget Act. The amount requested for construction is $400,000 (29 percent) more than the future cost previously recognized by the Legislature, after adjusting for inflation.
When the Legislature appropriated funds in 1998, the preliminary plans were to be completed in December 1998 and working drawings were to be complete by May 1999. Now, the department reports that preliminary plans will not be complete until August 2000, and working drawings are not scheduled to be complete until May 2001. Given the history and current status of this project, construction funds likely will not be needed in the budget year. Furthermore, since preliminary plans will not be completed in the current year, the Legislature has no more information on this project than it had two years ago. Therefore, we recommend the Legislature delete construction funds totaling $1,778,000 under Item 5460-301-0001 (16).
We recommend the Legislature delete $400,000 for the first phase of a study to conduct a statewide survey of the communications systems at each institution because studies of this nature should be funded through the operating budget. (Delete Item 5460-301-0001 .)
The budget includes a proposal for $400,000 for the first of two phases to study the existing communication systems used by the department at various institutions. The second phase of the study, which is projected to cost $300,000, would develop a needs assessment for each institution, as well as recommendations for implementing the standards outlined in the first phase. No future cost for implementing the standards has been identified.
Studies of this type should be accomplished during the development of the department's five-year capital outlay program. Development of this program is the department's responsibility through the support budget. Therefore, additional funds through a capital outlay appropriation should not be needed. Thus, we recommend the Legislature delete $400,000 under Item 5460-301-0001 (2).
We recommend the Legislature delete $505,000 for preliminary plans and working drawings to construct a new kitchen at Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility because the department has not demonstrated a need to replace the existing facility. (Delete $505,000 under Item 5460-301-0001 .)
The department has proposed $505,000 for the preliminary plans and working drawings for a project to replace the existing kitchen facility at Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility in Whittier. The future cost of construction for this project is $4,737,000. The department indicates the current kitchen has inadequate capacity to serve its population.
The department indicates that growth of 200 wards from the current population of around 800 would increase total food service time by 40 minutes per meal, thereby affecting educational programs. However, the entire Youth Authority ward population statewide is projected to grow by only 600 wards by 2004. There is no basis for expecting the institution's population to increase by one-third of the total statewide increase. Therefore, the potential problem cited by the department is unlikely to occur. The department also has cited other problems with the kitchen, including the need for equipment repair and building maintenance. These types of issues are ongoing facility operation and maintenance responsibilities and as such are funded through the support budget. In view of these issues, we recommend the Legislature delete $505,000 under Item 5240-301-0001 (14).
We recommend the Legislature reduce the $486,000 requested for preliminary plans and working drawings for the correctional treatment center at the Northern California Youth Correctional Center by $267,000 to delete funding for working drawings because these funds will not be needed in the budget year. (Delete $267,000 under Item 5460-301-0001 .)
The budget proposes $267,000 for preliminary plans and working drawings to construct a correctional treatment center at the Northern California Youth Correctional Center in Sacramento. The estimated future cost to construct the project is $3,646,000. Based on the current project schedule, preliminary plans are expected to be completed by May 2001. Given the schedule and budget problems discussed above regarding the Ventura Correctional Treatment Center, it is doubtful that the plans will be completed on time or that the estimated future cost will not change. Therefore, we recommend the Legislature only approve the preliminary plan phase for this project. If preliminary plans are completed on schedule and within the estimated construction cost, the Legislature could consider a request for working drawings and construction funds for 2001-02.
We withhold recommendation on $195,000 for preliminary plans and working drawings for security improvements at the Karl Holton Youth Correctional Facility pending receipt of further information regarding the need for the project.
The Governor's budget proposes $195,000 for the preliminary plans and working drawings to upgrade the living unit security systems in 66 units at Karl Holton Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton. The estimated future construction cost for this project is $1,830,000. The scope of work identified by the department includes stainless steel toilets, new steel plating for the walls and ceiling, and pass-through slots in the doors. The project will also remove the existing metal beds and install concrete bunks.
While the department has cited security issues, it is unclear why a total of 66 units require these types of improvements. Further information is needed regarding the extent of use of these units as well as justification for the "cell hardening" measures. Consequently, we withhold recommendation on the proposal pending receipt and review of information addressing these issues.