News Releases

Gov. Schwarzenegger Creates Strike Teams to Implement Historic Prison Reform Plan

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the creation of two strike teams to expedite implementation of AB 900, the historic $7.7 billion measure to help reform California’s overburdened correctional system. Composed of nationally recognized rehabilitation and prison construction experts, the strike teams will ensure that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has the programs and resources to add the “R” to CDC and build 53,000 beds.

One strike team will fundamentally reform California’s prison rehabilitation programs; the other will expedite the construction of correctional facilities. The teams are being launched with 20 experts from universities, community organizations and state government; others will be added.

“My administration is taking immediate action to implement California’s historic prison reform plan,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “With these strike teams, we are aggressively moving forward to shift our approach to rehabilitating prisoners in California. And, we will cut through the red tape to expedite construction, just as we have done with California’s levees, and recently with the collapsed overpass in the Bay Area. I will not tolerate bureaucratic hang ups and delay when it comes to public safety.”

“Building the re-entry facilities – is another historic task in my prison reform act – and I have asked CDCR Secretary Jim Tilton to assign Chief Deputy Marisela Montes to work with local governments and community groups to build the 16,000 beds and arrange for program services delivery.”
The Rehabilitation Strike Team will focus on evaluating existing education, training and substance abuse programs; on developing leading-edge rehabilitation classes; on delivering the services to inmates and parolees in order to improve public safety; on designing facilities to best accommodate program and on working with communities to continue services in local settings.

Kathy Jett, Director of CDCR’s Division of Addiction and Recovery Services and former Director of the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP), will chair the Rehabilitation Strike Team. She will be joined by a public-private team that includes: Joan Petersilia, PhD, Professor, Criminology, Law & Society Director, UCI Center on Evidence-Based Corrections; Jose’ Millan, Vice Chancellor, Economic Development &Workforce Preparation, California Community Colleges; Nena Messina, PhD, Principal Researcher, UCLA Institute of Substance Abuse Treatment; Matt Powers, Director, PRIDE Industries (Sacramento); Mimi Budd, retired Chief Counsel, ADP;

Also, Cherry Short, PhD, Assistant Dean, USC School of Social Work; Joe Lehman, retired Washington State Director of Corrections and National Institute of Corrections consultant; Barbara Bloom, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Sonoma State University and Frank Russell, the lead CDCR education executive. Todd Jerue, Department of Finance Corrections Principal Program Budget Manager, and Julie Chapman, Deputy Director, Department of Personnel Administration, will assist.

The Facilities Construction Strike Team will restore CDCR’s major project management capability and begin work immediately to build re-entry, infill, medical and jail beds. Deborah Hysen, former Department of General Services (DGS) Chief Deputy and California Performance Review leader, will chair the team. Other members include: Robert Denham, retired Chief Deputy Sheriff, Sacramento County; Kevin Carruth, retired Undersecretary, CDCR; Jim Varney, Major Damage Engineer, Department of Transportation; Ben Martin, Acquisition Manager, DGS Procurement; Scott Harris, Executive Director, Corrections Standards Authority. Karen Finn, Department of Finance Capital Outlay Principal Program Budget Manager, and Doug Button, Deputy Director, Real Estate Services, DGS, will assist.

Among the tasks, the Facilities Construction Strike Team will:

  • Evaluate all alternative construction methods for the construction of reentry facilities and infill capacity.
  • Look at any options for housing inmates in existing facilities within the state that are not being utilized before inmates are transferred.
  • Develop cost containments for proposed construction.
  • Evaluate regulatory impediments to construction and whether waiver of regulations benefit the state.
  • Address local mitigation issues for communities that are impacted by current prison facilities.

Strike team members from the private sector will be compensated by CDCR for professional services and travel from its 2007-08 budget; state employees will be loaned by their respective departments. It is anticipated the Strike Team will take from 6-12 months to complete its work, under the direction of Cabinet Secretary Dan Dunmoyer and Deputy Cabinet Secretary Robert J. Gore.

The strike teams held an introductory session Wednesday. They will work, depending on the individual member’s commitment and tasks, full- and part-time. Additional members will be added as necessary, and other experts will be invited to participate for short-term assignments.

“This is a core group of senior, experienced, widely recognized experts,” Dunmoyer said, “who will work fast to move CDCR into a new era of both rehabilitation and construction. The teams are designed to be innovative, flexible and lean.”

Team leaders will meet weekly with CDCR senior managers to provide direction and to coordinate action steps, according to Dunmoyer. The Strike Teams will work together to fully integrate and install new, effective and efficient rehabilitative programs at CDCR and to build beds quickly and at the lowest cost to relieve overcrowding. The Strike Teams will also focus on management improvements, include filling vacancies, recruiting and retention, improving accountability and communications.

Assembly Bill 900, also known as the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007, provides $7.7 billion to add 53,000 prison and jail beds in two phases and fundamentally shift how the CDCR approaches rehabilitation for California’s prisoners.