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Why give DOCR the authority to refuse inmate once operational capacity and appropriation limits for contract

housing are reached? Currently, we have some judicial districts that routinely sentence inmates that are appropriate for county jail, to the DOCR. (see attachment showing numbers of inmates received from each county over a 12 month period). There are various reasons why this may occur: -Frees up space in the jail so that they can house federal or DOCR inmates for a per diem rate? -Capacity issues exist in some county jails. Instead of the county having to contract for beds or expand their jail, those costs are pushed up to the state. Why is this biennium the time to provide the DOCR with this authority when we are adding 240 beds to NDSP? During the history of DOCR, any time new beds have been added within the DOCR system (JRCC added in 1999; DWCRC added in 2003), even though the growth in inmate numbers was stable around 3 -5%, we experienced a 15% increase in inmate admissions for no other reason than the if you build it they will come phenomena. We are already experiencing a significant increase in inmate admission, partially due to the oil impact, but also attributable to what looks like a huge expansion at NDSP. The reality however, is that with the admissions increasing at the current rate, the new DUI legislation, and the fact that half of the 240 beds will immediately be filled when we bring in the 118 inmates that we have sitting in county jail back to NDSP, we could be at capacity before the end of the biennium, unless there is some significant changes in sentencing practices. The NDSP expansion was designed and built to meet the DOCR needs until 2017. We will be right back to square one if correctional resources, both county and state, continue to be viewed as an infinite resource that do not have to be prioritized according to risk and public safety factors.

The DOCR appropriation becomes merely advisory when there is no ability to control inmate admissions. Other agencies have had gate keeping measures put into law that allow the agency to manage their resources within their appropriation. An example is the screening process DHS has through the Human Service Centers for admissions to the State Hospital. In years past, legislators have stated that the legislature holds the checkbook and deposit slip for agency budgets. However, the checkbook for the DOCR has been handed over to the judiciary. There are ways that the judiciary could prioritize and more efficiently utilize correctional resources, however, there is no incentive for them to do so, as their ability to get reelected is tied to how happy they keep their local jurisdiction and county commissioners and their budget is not tied to the DOCR budget. How could the judiciary be more effective in their sentencing practices? Current law requires that presentence investigations (PSIs) be conducted for several serious sex offenses. All other PSIs are discretionary. Very few PSIs are utilized by the judges to inform their sentencing of serious offenders. The risk and dangerousness of offenders would be laid out in a PSI and would result in the right people accessing high end correctional resources. Each week at case planning, where each new inmates case is staffed and discussed by a multidisciplinary committee to map out the inmates stay, it is apparent that low risk, non-dangerous inmates are being sentenced to prison. An example this week is an offender who stole a TV in 2008. He had not paid the restitution, and his probation was set to expire. He was brought back on a petition to revoke and received a 2 year sentence to prison. A decision that cost the taxpayers $72,000. We continue to receive a number of inmates that are very low risk and could be safely managed in the community. Although there are a number of alternatives to incarceration available as sentencing options, very few alternatives are utilized. The counties have had the authority for several years to utilize GPS to manage offenders

rather than jailing them on low level offenses. I am not aware of any jails utilizing this technology. The DOCR has offered their assistance to several of the larger jails to establish a GPS monitoring program for their jurisdiction. There has been no interest. If the DOCR is granted the authority to manage its inmate population, the DOCR would work closely with the other stakeholders in the criminal justice system to insure that resources were used more efficiently and effectively to avoid ever having to refuse commitments to the DOCR.