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Adult Corrections Report, VA Senate Finance Committee, 2007

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S

An Assessment of the
Fiscal Outlook for the Remainder
of the 2000-02 Biennium

Adult Corrections

Senate Finance Committee Staff
August 20, 2001

Senate Finance Committee
November 15-16, 2007

Introduction
•

Virginia’s state- and local-responsible adult offender
population continues to grow.

•

Accordingly, after 2010, even when construction of the new
prison in Grayson County has been completed, the
Department of Corrections (DOC) will still need additional
secure facilities.

•

Correctional facilities are very expensive to build and
operate, but there are potential opportunities to reduce the
growth in the offender population.

•

-

One promising strategy is to support evidence-based
programs that have been shown to reduce the rate of
recidivism.

-

Even modest reductions in recidivism can slow the rate
of offender population growth.

At the same time, DOC must also maintain security, while
planning for increasing requirements for health, mental
health, and geriatric services for inmates.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

1

Scope of State and Local Corrections
•

DOC is the largest state agency in FTE employment, with
13,760 authorized positions, and a $1.025 billion budget
(from all funds) in FY 2008.

•

As of June 2007, Virginia’s state-responsible offender
population was 38,007 (felons sentenced to one year or more
in prison), including:
-

32,651 housed by DOC in 30 major prisons, 10 field
units, six work release centers and one private prison.

-

The other 6,356 were in local and regional jails, of
which about 2,500 were “out-of-compliance.”

•

DOC also supervised almost 57,000 offenders through 43
district probation offices, and operated nine detention and
diversion centers and 10 day reporting centers.

•

In addition, Virginia’s local-responsible population of 21,000
offenders (with sentences of 12 months or less) was housed
in 66 local and regional jails, and another 19,000
misdemeanants were under the supervision of local pre-trial
and community corrections programs.

•

In other words, 135,000, or one in every 44 Virginians age 18
and over, were in prison or jail, or were under state or local
probation supervision, as of June 30, 2007.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

2

Per Capita Spending on Corrections
•

Virginia spent $204 per capita on corrections in 2005,
ranking 20th highest among the 50 states and the District of
Columbia.
CORRECTIONS SPENDING PER CAPITA
$500

(Total Expenditures Divided by Total State Population, FY 2005)

WY
$450

The U.S. average of $200 per capita
is a "weighted" average; that is, the
total of all of the expenditures in all
of the jurisdictions, divided by the
total U.S. population.

$400

$350
AK, DC

$300

CA
MD,DE,NY
NM,NV,PA
OR,MI,WI,WA
AZ,NJ,FL,LA,GA

$250

$200

Virginia = $204
U.S. Average = $200 per capita
TX

NC
KY

$150

TN

WV
ND

$100

$50

$0
1

•

3

5

7

9

11

13

15

17

19

21

23

25

27

29

31

33

35

37

39

41

43

45

47

49

51

This measure includes both state and local expenditures for
adult and juvenile corrections, including institutions as well
as community corrections.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

3

Virginia’s Recidivism is 28.5 Percent
•

Virginia defines recidivism as re-incarceration in a DOC
facility within three years of release from prison.

•

For the first time, DOC has compared Virginia’s rate of
recidivism with the 29 other states which use the same
measure of recidivism. The preliminary conclusion is that
Virginia compares favorably.

70

Three-Year Re-Incarceration Rates
(30 States With the Same Measure of Recidivism)

60

Virginia ranks second lowest among contiguous states, and
second lowest among those with comparable population size.

50

40

Virginia ranks eighth lowest : 28.5%
30

20

10

0
WY WV ND OK FL MN TX VA AL NV KY SC NC GA OH WI

•

IN

LA TN NH MT PA MD MO AK

IL NM CA KS AL

However, additional research is needed. For example,
Virginia prisoners who are re-incarcerated in Maryland or the
District of Columbia are not counted.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

4

Effects of Parole Abolition
•

Since abolishing parole in 1994, Virginia has successfully
implemented new felony sentencing guidelines.

•

Under Virginia’s guidelines, felons sentenced to prison will
serve at least 85 percent of their nominal sentence.

•

Based on Section 17.1-805 of the Code of Virginia, offenders
are defined as violent based on the totality of their criminal
careers, both current and prior offenses, including burglary,
and including juvenile adjudications.

•

As intended, the guidelines have resulted in longer actual
time served for violent and repeat offenders, compared to the
old parole system.
-

The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission staff is
aware of no other state that reports actual times served
for violent and repeat offenders that are longer than the
actual times served in Virginia.

•

For non-violent offenders, actual time served has not changed
significantly from the old parole system.

•

Unlike federal sentencing guidelines, Virginia’s system is
voluntary. Over the past three years judicial compliance has
averaged over 80 percent.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

5

More Violent Offenders are in Prison
•

When parole was abolished, the General Assembly intended
that expensive prison beds should be reserved more for
violent and repeat offenders, and less for non-violent, lowerrisk offenders. In fact, this has occurred.
VIOLENT AND NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS IN PRISON
90%

80%

Violent offenders, including burglary, as defined in Section 17.1-805,
Code of Virginia, for the purposes of the truth-in-sentencing guidelines
Non-violent offenders

79.1%
74.4%

70%

69.1%

60%

50%

40%

30.9%
30%

25.6%
20.9%

20%

10%

0%
1994

2004

2007

Source: Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission (October 30, 2007)

•

Since 1994, the proportion of offenders in state facilities with
a current or prior violent offense, including burglary, has
increased from 69 to 79 percent, based on the most recent
analysis by Sentencing Commission staff.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

6

Many Non-Violent Offenders are Diverted
•

When parole was abolished, the General Assembly also
approved legislation to expand Virginia’s community
corrections system (both state and local).

•

Included within that legislation was the directive for the
Sentencing Commission to develop risk assessment
guidelines, with the goal of diverting up to 25 percent of
lower-risk, non-violent offenders.

•

In the process of accomplishing this goal, Virginia became
the only state to implement risk assessment guidelines in all
judicial circuits, starting in 2002.
-

These guidelines use objective factors, based on
empirical research, to predict the likelihood that an
offender will commit another offense.

•

Virginia has exceeded the 1994 goal of diverting up to 25
percent of lower-risk, non-violent felony offenders.

•

Virginia appears to have maximized the opportunities for
diverting lower-risk, non-violent offenders into alternatives
to incarceration.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

7

Community Corrections Has Grown
•

As of June 2007, there were almost 50,000 offenders under
state probation supervision and over 7,000 on parole, for a
total caseload of almost 57,000 offenders under state DOC
community supervision.
PROBATION AND PAROLE CASELOADS
60,000

56,964
Parole

50,000

Number of Offenders

40,000

Probation

36,836

30,000

20,000

10,000

0
1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

As of June

•

The number of offenders on probation has increased over 68
percent from 1998 to 2007, while the number of offenders on
parole has declined slightly.

•

The probation caseload has grown more than twice as fast
than the state-responsible offender population, which has
increased by almost one-third during the same time.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

8

Virginia’s Crime Rate Has Fallen
•

Virginia consistently ranks among the low-crime states, in
terms of numbers of offenses per 100,000 population, usually
about 37th out of the 50 states.
VIOLENT CRIME RATES (1960 - 2006)
800

700

Violent Crimes Per 100,000 Population

Violent Offenses - Murder, Rape,
Robbery, and Aggravated Assault
600

United States Total
500

474

400

300

Virginia

282

200

Virginia abolished parole
effective January 1, 1995

100

4

2

0

8

6

4

2

6
20
0

20
0

20
0

20
0

19
9

19
9

19
9

8

6

4

2

0

8

6

4

2

0

8

6

4

2

0

19
9

19
9

19
8

19
8

19
8

19
8

19
8

19
7

19
7

19
7

19
7

19
7

19
6

19
6

19
6

19
6

19
6

0

0

Calendar Year

•

In Virginia, the rate of violent crimes reported to the police
has dropped over 23 percent since the peak in 1991, and the
rate of property crimes has dropped almost 38 percent during
the same 15-year period.

•

However, despite the drop in the rate, the actual number of
violent offenses has increased since 2000.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

9

The Number of Offenses is Increasing
•

The actual number of violent offenses dropped sharply from
1993 to 2000, but has increased over eight percent from 2000
to 2006.
ACTUAL NUMBER OF VIOLENT OFFENSES IN VIRGINIA
25,000

24,160

Number of Violent Offenses

24,000

23,000

22,000

21,568

21,000

20,000

The actual number of violent offenses per year
in Virginia peaked in 1993 (at 24,160), then declined
17.5 percent to a low of 19,943 in 2000. The number
has since increased 8.1 percent to 21,568 in 2006.
19,943

19,000
1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Calendar Year

•

The rate of each state’s population growth influences the
changes in its violent crime rate.
-

Virginia’s population increased 23.5 percent from 1990
to 2006 (from 6.2 to over 7.6 million).

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

10

Arrests and Felony Cases are Increasing
•

•

From 2000 to 2006, Virginia has seen a steady increase in the
numbers of arrests, felony cases concluded in Circuit Court,
and new court commitments to prison:
-

Adult arrests – up 26 percent;

-

Felony cases concluded – up 25 percent; and,

-

New court commitments – up 33 percent.

Unfortunately, the percentage of court cases not concluded
within the Supreme Court’s time processing guidelines is
also increasing.
-

The guidelines call for 90 percent of felony cases to be
concluded within 120 days of arrest (and within 60 days
for misdemeanors).

-

More than half of all felony cases in Circuit Court and a
fourth of all misdemeanor cases in District Court are
not meeting the guidelines.

-

This suggests the courts are struggling to keep up with
their growing workload.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

11

Key Factors Driving the Forecast
•

Each year the Secretary of Public Safety publishes an
updated, consensus forecast for both the state- and localresponsible offender populations.

•

Three key factors drive the state forecast: prison admissions,
average length of stay, and releases.
1)

Admissions grew an average of 5.4 percent each year
from 1999 to 2006, and are projected to increase an
average of 3.1 percent each year through 2013.

2)

Average length of stay has increased from 38 to over 40
months from 1999 to 2006.

3)

The number of releases is expected to continue to
increase, but at a slower rate than admissions.
-

As of December 2006, about 9,000 inmates were
still in prison under the old parole system (out of
almost 32,000 inmates).

-

The discretionary parole grant rate for those
remaining prisoners eligible for parole is only
about five percent.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

12

Virginia’s Offender Population is Growing
•

Over the next six years, the number of state-responsible adult
offenders with prison sentences (those sentenced to one year
or more) is projected to increase almost 18 percent – adding
over 6,700 offenders by 2013.
STATE RESPONSIBLE OFFENDERS
(September 2007 Forecast)

45,000

44,744 by June 2013

40,000

35,000

38,000 as of June 2007
30,000

25,000

Virginia's incarceration rate almost tripled
over the past 25 years, from 159 per 100,000
population in 1980 to 464 in 2005. In 2005, the
incarceration rate for all 50 states was 435,
and Virginia ranked 16th among the states.

20,000

15,000

8,900 as of June 1981
10,000

Virginia abolished parole and established truth-in-sentencing as of January 1, 1995

19
81
19
82
19
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19
84
19
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19
86
19
87
19
88
19
89
19
90
19
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19
92
19
93
19
94
19
95
19
96
19
97
19
98
19
99
20
00
20
01
20
02
20
03
20
04
20
05
20
06
20
07
20
08
20
09
20
10
20
11
20
12
20
13

5,000

As of June

•

Since 1990 the General Assembly has approved financing for
over 21,000 new correctional facility beds, at a capital cost of
over $1 billion.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

13

Prison Expenditures Are Growing

DOC OPERATING EXPENDITURES
1,100

$1.025 billion

From FY 2004 to 2008, total DOC operating expenditures have
grown 26.5 percent, from $810 million to $1.025 billion (all funds).

1,000

900

$810 million

$ Millions (All Funds)

800

700

600

$436.5 million
500

400

300

200
1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Fiscal Year

•

Over the next six years (June 2007 to 2013), the forecast
suggests Virginia’s prison population will grow by the
equivalent of one new prison each year.

•

Each new 1,000-bed facility will require an initial capital
construction cost of at least $100 million, usually financed
through general fund-supported bonds issued by the Virginia
Public Building Authority (VPBA).

•

As of 2010, each new facility will add $25 million ($25,000
per bed) to the annual DOC operating budget.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

14

This Year’s Forecast is Higher
•

The most recent state-responsible forecast for 2012 is sharply
higher (by 1,358 beds) than last year’s forecast.
-

•

At the same time, the October 1 budget reduction target for
DOC calls for about $19 million in savings in each fiscal year
2008, 2009, and 2010.
-

•

Under current circumstances, there appear to be no
good options to generate recurring savings.

The most significant proposed budget reduction strategy is
for DOC to generate additional revenue by contracting to
hold as many as 1,000 non-state offenders (probably illegal
aliens) through 2010.
-

•

Our report at last year’s retreat noted the forecast risk
was that the trend line could be higher. The same
cautionary note applies this year.

DOC housed as many as 4,000 out-of-state prisoners
between 1998 and 2002.

The proposal to house non-state offenders, at the same time
additional space is needed after 2010, adds a new layer of
complexity to planning for additional facilities.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

15

Does DOC Have Excess Capacity?

CORRECTIONAL FACILITY POPULATION AND CAPACITY
42,000

(2005 - 2013)
Adjusted Forecast

A
The "out-of-compliance" backlog is the number of
state-responsible offenders held in local or regional
jails beyond the statutory requirement for transfer to
DOC within 60 days of receipt by DOC of the final and
complete sentencing order from the sentencing court.

40,000

40,460

B

Facility Population and Capacity

38,000

"Out-of-Compliance"
(4,600 5,600)
Virginia state-responsible
offenders who should be
housed in state facilities

36,000

A

Temporary Emergency Beds

34,000

34,852 Funded Bed Capacity,
including five new prisons:
- Grayson County
- Pocahontas (Tazewell Co.)
- Green Rock (Chatham)
- Deerfield Expansion
- St. Brides - Phase II

B
(1,822)

A
32,000

Up to 1,000 contract prisoners through 2010

B
Population which can actually be housed in state facilities (bed capacity)

30,000
2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

As of June

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

16

Key Factors to Consider
•

To answer this question, the General Assembly must balance
the desired level of security with the need for additional
revenues, in light of several key factors:
-

The physical limits of existing water supply and sewage
treatment infrastructure;

-

Continued use of temporary emergency beds;

-

Increased use of vacant beds in lower security facilities,
such as correctional field units;

-

The size of the “out-of-compliance” jail backlog;

-

The level of crowding in jails; and,

-

The risk that our own population may grow faster.

•

The proposal to house up to 1,000 contract offenders will
place additional strains on Virginia’s correctional facilities,
and eliminate needed flexibility to respond to short-term
emergencies or fluctuations in population.

•

Any contracts for non-state prisoners should end after 2010,
given the projected growth in Virginia’s own stateresponsible population.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

17

Growing Numbers of Probation Violators
•

In 2006, there were 12,523 new court commitments.

•

Of these, 47 percent (or 5,875) were probation revocations.

•

Four-fifths of these (or 4,690 of the probationers who were
revoked) had committed new crimes.

•

The remaining one-fifth of the revocations (1,185 offenders),
had not (yet) committed a new crime, but they had violated
the terms of their probation to the extent that commitment to
a facility was warranted.

•

-

DOC defines these 1,185 offenders as HTPV’s, or
“habitual technical probation violators.”

-

Almost half of these have a violent offense in their
criminal history, or medical/mental health issues, but
the remaining 628 may be appropriate for placement in
an alternative facility or program.

With at least 1,185 admissions per year, and with a median
sentence length of 22 months, DOC projects that a total of
3,000 “habitual technical probation violators” will be housed
in state correctional facilities by 2013.
-

Over half of these may be appropriate for a lowersecurity, return-to-custody facility.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

18

A Return-to-Custody Facility
•

The 2006 General Assembly authorized DOC to move
forward with plans for a new facility in Charlotte County,
which could be privately-operated.
-

The 2007 General Assembly provided $1.2 million for
this project; however, this funding has been eliminated
in the October budget reductions.

•

DOC has recommended that the GEO Corporation be
selected to build and operate the new facility.

•

The projection of 3,000 habitual technical probation violators
by 2013 presents an opportunity to reduce capital costs and
expand programs to reduce recidivism.

•

The Charlotte County facility could be designed, either in
whole or in part, as a lower-security, return-to-custody
facility for habitual technical probation violators.

•

DOC estimates 57 percent of these offenders are drug users,
and 25 percent are heavy drug users.

•

Accordingly, a return-to-custody facility might emphasize
substance abuse treatment, vocational education, and
intensive planning for re-entry services.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

19

Conclusions
•

Virginia’s adult state-responsible offender population is
projected to grow by more than 6,700 offenders (from 38,000
to over 44,700) by 2013.
-

The Governor’s proposal for DOC to contract for up to
1,000 non-state offenders through 2010 adds a new
layer of complexity to the discussion of planning for
additional facilities.

-

Unfortunately, under today’s circumstances, there
appear to be no better alternatives to meet the required
budget reduction targets.

•

In order to ensure sufficient space is available in 2010 and
beyond, the 2008 General Assembly may wish to consider
financing the proposed new facility in Charlotte County.

•

At the same time, over the next several years, focusing on
evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism may help to
lower the rate of growth in the offender population, thereby
offsetting future prison costs.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

20

 

 

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