The Division of Adult Parole Operations - A Five-Year Roadmap to Our Future
The Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) has embarked upon one of the greatest reform efforts in the history of parole. Our goal is twofold:
- To protect our communities by aligning our practices with those which have proven to reduce recidivism through effective offender supervision strategies, and
- To promote a paradigm and cultural shift where staff openly embrace emerging Correctional practices which have shown to facilitate long-term behavioral change within the offender population. .
These strategies, of which some have been made possible through legislation and/or the Budget Act of 2009/10, encompass 12 major components which have been incorporated into a “FIVE-YEAR ROADMAP.”
However, as a result of budgetary constraints coupled with the passing of the Criminal Justice Realignment, Assembly Bill 109, adjustments and modifications to the “FIVE-YEAR ROADMAP” such as an increase in caseloads, decrease with the use of Electronic-In-Home Detention units and a reduction of Global Positioning System units for gang members are required in order to comply with the law. Also, Assembly Bill 109 seeks to transfer the supervision and jurisdiction of non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious felons to the counties relieving overcrowding issues.
The 12 major components are as follows:
- California Parole Supervision and Reintegration Model (CPSRM)
- On October 13, 2009, the Parole Reform Task Force was convened with the objective of aligning our current practices with those that have proven to positively impact offender reintegration. In partnership with the Center for Effective Public Policy, the task force consisted of 19 staff members from all four Regions, to include line-level Parole Agents, DAPO Headquarters, and the Parole Agents Association of California. After reviewing voluminous amounts of information and thoughtfully considering evidence-based practices, lessons learned from both internal and external stakeholders, and research from over two decades on effective offender management strategies, the California Parole Supervision and Reintegration Model (CPSRM) was born. Training of the CPSRM pilot site staff was delivered in three phases.
- Phase one of the training on the CPSRM was conducted on July 14 and 15, 2010, for staff from the four pilot site Parole Units: Region I, Bakersfield (Kern County); Region II, Santa Rosa 2 (Sonoma County); Region III, San Gabriel Valley 1 (Los Angeles County); and Region IV, Tri-City (San Bernardino County).
- On August 1, 2010, DAPO deployed the CPSRM pilot in one Parole Unit per Region, as noted in the bullet above. The objective of this pilot was to evaluate, refine, and re-evaluate the components of the CPSRM, while utilizing impact, outcomes, and the principles of effective offender reintegration as the guiding standard. Once fully implemented CPSRM will result in the reduction of parolee caseloads from an average of 70 parolees per case carrying to 53 to 1 (excludes parolees on GPS or Enhanced Outpatient Clinic cases), assuming the budget crisis does not impact this reduction. Reduced caseloads will enable staff to incorporate motivational interviewing and interactive skills to facilitate a parolee’s willingness to change, to include collaboration with the parolee in the development of an individualized case plan. The evidence has been very consistent in establishing that contact-driven supervision, surveillance, and condition enforcement by itself has a limited ability to change a parolee’s behavior or to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. This is not to say that this approach does not have some impact on controlling or suppressing a parolee’s criminal behavior while under parole supervision. However, in the absence of other activities geared toward changing their behavior, these efforts are insufficient to enhance public safety through recidivism reduction.
- Phase two of the training consisted of offender transition from prison to parole. This training included pre-release planning, residence verification and case management.
- In an effort to maintain the fidelity of the pilot program, academic staff from the University of California, Irvine, Center for Evidence-Based Corrections, continues to collaborate with DAPO on progress, areas of strength, areas of concern, and provide specific recommendations intended to facilitate an effective supervision model.
- The third and final phase of CPSRM pilot training was completed on January 12, 2011. The training included a presentation by Mimi Carter from the Center for Effective Public Policy, Mark Carey of the Carey Group and Helen Braithwaite from the University of California, Irvine. Initial results from quality assurance reviews were very positive related to the implementation of the first two phases of CPSRM. The implementation of the third phase has concluded; however, modifications continue to be made to the CPSRM pilot consistent with findings, recommendations and outcomes.
- In October of 2011, the CPSRM expansion began on a statewide basis. We have finished training 10 parole units in Regions 1 and 4 on Phase 1 of the CPSRM and have implemented the CPSRM at those units on 11/1/11. Regions 2 and 3 are currently being trained on phase 1 and will implement this stage of the CPSRM on 12/1/11. It is anticipated that Phase 2 training will begin in January to February of 2012.
- It is through collaboration that DAPO ensures its alignment with evidence-based practices intended to enhance public safety through long-term positive behavioral change, while moving towards statewide implementation.
Achieving this goal will take time, patience, unprecedented focus, and the sustained commitment of every employee within DAPO. We are confident we will achieve this goal together, as we work towards implementing the plan that will move California back into a leadership position for correctional practices.
- Research from the past two decades has proven that excessive caseloads contribute to the inability of a Parole Agent to effectively manage offenders under his or her supervision.
- With the advent of the CPSRM, it is our goal to utilize this model to incorporate those factors which have proven to make our communities safer, to include providing agents the opportunity to provide intensive supervision, and monitoring through reduced caseloads.
- At the conclusion of the CPSRM pilot coupled with the 2011 Criminal Justice Realignment, Assembly Bill 109, it is our intent to commence the downsizing as the parolee population decreases to an average caseload of 53:1.
- This program provides a tool for Parole Agents to closely track and monitor the whereabouts of gang members, while utilizing the gps tracking system to be alerted to circumstances when offenders enter prohibited areas and/or fail to abide by curfew restrictions.
- This component is fully implemented and there are up to 400 GPS units available for use on gang members. These offenders are monitored with Active GPS on caseloads strategically located throughout the state.
- This program is fully implemented. There are up to 500 electronic monitoring units in use for this purpose.
- It enables DAPO and appropriate entities to utilize home detention as a remedial sanction in circumstances where the offender’s behavior does not rise to the level where a return to custody is warranted or as a means by which to enforce a curfew.
- This will provide District Administrators the means to manage their areas of responsibility most effectively by providing more intensive oversight, direction, and enforcement of professional standards throughout their District.
- Senate Bill 18 (3X)/Penal Code 3015) paved the way for the development/expansion of parolee reentry Courts throughout the states to be used as diversionary programs for eligible parolees.
- As a result of this legislation, the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) was given authorization to award up to seven contracts for the stated reentry services. The contracting process yielded the following service areas/counties: 1. Alameda, 2. Los Angeles, 3. San Diego, 4. San Francisco, 5. San Joaquin, and 6. Santa Clara.
- The process required the cooperation and participation of Cal EMA, the Administrative Office of the Courts, County Re-entry Service Providers, and DAPO.
- These reentry courts have enabled the Board of Parole Hearings or parole staff to refer offenders to this alternative in circumstances where structured substance abuse and/or mental health treatment is warranted.
- CDCR has developed a memorandum of understanding and associated policies/procedures with each of the participating courts.
- The parolee reentry Court programs are now fully implemented.
While the Department’s Parole Agent Academy provides entry-level candidates with solid basic knowledge and enables parole staff to meet standard POST (Peace Officer and Standards Training) requirements, DAPO has implemented a ten-week Field Training Program that mirrors POST programs used by law enforcement agencies throughout the State. Further, the field training component:
- Serves as an extension of the Academy, in that a determination of the candidates “full-time permanent status” will not be realized until Parole Agent candidates successfully pass both components;
- Provides the Division with the opportunity to further evaluate the “trainee’s” abilities and practical application of the concepts learned in the academy in a “real life” environment, while enabling the candidate to more easily assimilate into the community and into their new role by working with and learning from seasoned and experienced FTOs;
- Provides each candidate with extensive and focused one on one training with multiple FTOs, and;
- Provides DAPO with the opportunity to eliminate (fail) candidates who do not meet minimum standards.
During the Spring of 2011, DAPO reached the following milestones in anticipation of piloting the FTP:
- Completion of the Field Training Manual, Trainee Performance Guide and FTO Resource Guide.
- Sixty (60) Parole Agents successfully completed a forty-hour POST Certified FTO class.
On March 11, 2011, DAPO piloted the structured ten-week FTP utilizing 22 trainees from the 73 graduates of the January 2011 Parole Agent Academy. The trainees completed their training on May 20, 2011. Program evaluations revealed that Parole Agents who participated in the FTP scored better than those who did not participate or who were assigned a mentor.
On September 1, 2011, DAPO completed modifications of the program based on evaluations and feedback obtained during the first ten week FTP. DAPO continued the pilot with the next academy graduating class in January 2012 utilizing 8 trainees. Trainees completed their training on February 24, 2012. Subsequent evaluations will be utilized to finalize program components allowing DAPO to require all future academy graduates to successfully complete the ten week FTP.
- The reclassification of the Parole Agent Specialist to Supervisor will enhance public safety by making subordinate staff more accountable for their actions, enhance the supervision of field Parole Agents by giving DAPO another legitimate field supervisor, and allow for the effective supervision and management of the Parole Unit in the absence of the Unit Supervisor.
- In addition, the primary function of the Parole Agent II Supervisor would be akin to a Sergeant in a law enforcement agency, in that they train and monitor staff in the field, and provide for the accountability of line-level Parole Agents under their jurisdiction.
- These very important components are currently lacking within DAPO, which leads to a lack of accountability and an overall deficiency in the expected performance of line-level Parole Agents.
- In January 2010, DAPO officially activated CPAT. Since then, CPAT has taken a proactive approach to apprehend PALs by actively locating them and placing them back under supervision.
- During 2011, CPAT arrested and/or closed interest in 5,578 PAL cases. From January 2012 through May of 2012, CPAT has arrested and/or closed interest in 2,584 PAL cases. This is a direct result of the close working relationship CPAT has with the DAPO field agents.
- The PAL population currently stands at 11,430 as of June 2012, from a high of 17,256 in 2009. Maintaining this level of PAL apprehensions is directly attributable to the personal responsibility DAPO has taken to make this program the pinnacle of success.
- Return to Custody Rates (technical vs. non-technical)Referrals by Program
- Use of Electronic In Home Detention
- Employment/Unemployed/Social Security
- Parole Violation Decision Making Instrument (agree/override/underrides)
- Static 99 (refers to offenders without a valid sex offender assessment by caseload)
- PACATS (refers to the automated system which captures cash assistance expended by Parole Agent, by offender, within specified timeframes).
- Restricted Report (Overtime by Region/District/Unit/Parole Agent)
PPI is fully operational; it is anticipated to be finalized and made available to DAPO staff within the next several weeks.
The first Parole Supervisor Academy was conducted on April 26, 2010, and will continue to be made available as a mandatory component of a supervisor’s training and professional repertoire. The Academy is intended to enhance the professional development of mid-level supervisors and is a critical component of DAPO’s succession planning.
Further, the curriculum standardizes supervisory practices through the Division, while providing staff with the tools to effectively manage a myriad of responsibilities within their purview.
The Parole Outpatient Clinic (POC) program was established to assist paroles with mental health problems. POC staff provides services throughout DAPO. With POC’s assistance there is a greater possibility of parolees successfully reintegrating into the community, which aids in the reduction of recidivism rates. POC provides mental health assessments and treatment as is relates to the risks and needs of the mentally ill parolee population. This methodology is directly in-line with DAPO’s commitment to keeping our communities safe. POC treatment consists of medication management, group therapy, and individual therapy for mentally ill paroles.
On September 15, 2010, a Taskforce was assembled to review the existing POC model and develop a report addressing recommendations for change and implementation of an improved system.
The assembled taskforce embodied extensive amounts of experience and expertise in correctional clinical treatment. This included POC frontline staff, POC supervisors, union representation, legal advisors, and outside collaborators and stakeholders. Upon establishment of the taskforce members, various component groups and group leaders were determined. These groups were responsible for reviewing mental health treatment, medication management, case management services, sex offender treatment, specialized treatment, resource development, program oversight, quality management and risk management. Each group exerted diversity in discipline and experience, and each core member participated in more than one group.
Each group was instructed to focus on evidence-based practices, national trends, and forensic science to ensure success on developing the best possible treatment model. All group meetings were held by way of weekly re-occurring telephone conferencing, while group participants worked on individual assignments at the group leader’s request.
In addition to the reoccurring group meetings, taskforce members and legal advisors assembled and participated in three monthly in-person meetings from January 2011 to March 2011, totaling 11 days.
The Taskforce produced a final report on May 5, 2011. The final report includes modifications and outcomes related to each of the 12 Taskforce recommendations. The recommendations are as follows:
- Eliminate redundancy by program oversight
- Utilizing existing staff form a Risk Management Team
- Combine mental health treatment and case management service
- Improve the quality of psychiatric care through medication management
- Continue use of sex offender treatment under new uniform model
- Conduct study of an evidence-based program targeting anti-social thinking
- Program savings and revenue opportunities
- Maintain appropriate staffing level commensurate with parolee population
- Programs in support of mentally ill offenders
- Utilize POC for remedial sanctions
- Improve and Develop automation systems
- Form POC research committee
Our success in implementing these commitments to good public safety is founded in the following:
- Clearly articulate DAPO’s mission to our staff
- Receive feedback, elicit commitment and dedication to our mission to implement the change at every level of our organization
- Informing our stakeholders that these changes must be implemented incrementally and carefully over time by establishing a timeline with milestones
- Understanding data, where to find information to better communicate with our stakeholders and constituents and educating the community on where we are going
Invest in technology and utilize it to learn, communicate more effectively, and analyze our accomplishments.