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California Prison Industry Authority: It Can More Effectively Meet Its Goals of Maximizing Inmate Employment, Reducing Recidivism, and Remaining Self-Sufficient

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2011
66 pages
As requested by the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the State Auditor presents this audit report on the operations of the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA).
The audit's main conclusion is that although one of CALPIA's primary responsibilities is to offer inmates the opportunity to develop effective work habits and occupational skills, it cannot determine the impact it has on postrelease inmate employability, because it lacks reliable data. The audit also found that although CALPIA created a set of comprehensive performance indicators for the entire organization, its ability to track its performance is limited, because it only recently developed a tracking matrix. Moreover, several of these indicators are either vague or not measurable. Another finding is that although the recidivism rate for parolees who worked for CALIPA were consistently lower than the rates of the general prison population, CALIPA overstated by $546,000 the savings it claims resulted from the lower recidivism rate. Further, CALIPA did not acknowledge that factors other than participation in one of its work programs may have contributed to the lower recidivism rates among its parolees. In addition, the audit found that CALPIA's closure of more enterprise locations than it has opened has resulted in a decline of inmate work opportunities. The audit also found that although CALPIA's five largest State-agency customers paid more for certain CALIPA products, overall they saved an estimated $3.1 million during fiscal year 2009-10 in purchasing the 11 products and services that were assessed. Recommendations address performance measures and related data collection and management, analyses in establishing prices for its products, and the use of the automated process in reviewing the profitability of each enterprise. 3 tables, 5 figures, and appended comparison of the California Prison Industry Authority's reported recidivism rates with the Bureau of State Audits' recalculation of those rates, and responses to the audit