Legislative Analyst's Office
Analysis of the 2002-03 Budget Bill
The California Department of Corrections (CDC) operates 33 prisons and 38 fire and conservation camps throughout the state. A new maximum security prison is being prepared for construction adjacent to the existing North Kern State Prison in Delano, and is scheduled for occupancy in late 2003. Construction of the new prison has been delayed pending resolution of legal action. The prison system also includes 16 community correctional facilities operated by private firms, cities, or counties under contract with CDC. As of mid-January 2002, the system housed 156,506 inmates, as compared to 160,433 as of mid-January 2001.
The budget includes requests totaling $22.6 million from lease-payment bonds ($12.8 million) and the General Fund ($9.8 million). These requests include:
We recommend the department report at budget hearings regarding progress made in resolving the lawsuit which has stopped construction of the new maximum security prison in Delano.
Chapter 54, Statutes of 1999 (AB 1535, Florez), provided $311.5 million of lease-payment bonds in order to construct a new 2,248 bed maximum security prison at Delano. Construction was scheduled for full completion in early 2004, with occupation of certain parts of the facility expected to begin in late 2003. Construction of the prison, however, has been halted as a result of pending legal action. It is unclear at this time how much this will slow completion of the prison.
We recommend the department report at budget hearings on the progress made in resolving the legal action that has halted construction of the project and on the expected delays in opening the prison.