Recent legislation has made county jails and agencies responsible for housing and treating non-violent offenders. But who is responsible for those overseeing 58 counties in California? The answer is California’s Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC), reported The Chronicle of Social Change.
BSCC is a relatively unknown agency with 83 employees and a relatively modest annual budget ($16 million), but some believe it is capable of exerting tremendous influence because it controls the money that county and state agencies need to treat offenders, renovate jails and build new facilities.
“The BSCC is arguably the most powerful corrections body in the state,” said Brian Goldstein, a policy analyst who works for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CSC). “They oversee data collection, programming and facility grants and the development of regulations across California’s 58 counties.”
“The BSCC is arguably the most
powerful corrections body in the state”
The agency has been criticized for approving money for programs whose success or failure has not been connected to the collected data, reported CSC. Board members attribute their problems to inadequate and outdated resources and a complicated system.
Two examples given in the report of complications are that there is no agreed-upon definition for recidivism, and that data collection is difficult. According to board Chair Linda Penner (Fresno County’s former probation chief), data collection is problematic because, “There are 58 counties, doing it 58 different ways.”
Gov. Jerry Brown formed the BSCC in 2012, appointing one member of the public to sit with 10 law enforcement officials, one juvenile justice expert and one adult treatment expert. According to CSC, it was formed to be an administrative leader that influences policy and manages costs.
They monitor about 500 California jails and holding cells as well as about 100 juvenile halls and camps.