Friday, July 20, 2012

Office of the Inspector General no longer has independent investigation Authority! July 2010 Special Report Update!

Whatever happened to the OIG's July 2010 Special Report concerning the Board of Parole Hearings' (BPH) process for preparing psychological Evaluations used for parole suitability hearings and the parole board's commissioner training?

In short:  As of July 2011, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) no longer has independent investigation authority or audit responsibilities. Thus, the CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION's (CDCR) CORRECTIVE ACTION PLAN (CAP) dated Janaury 2011, was the last update provided to OIG. Any concerns regarding the lack of Action on the three (3) specific findings will need to be forwarded to Ms.  Shaffer, the current BPH Executive Officer. .

Findings in Brief for the July 2010: The Office of the Inspector General found that the Board of Parole Hearings (parole board) lacks reliable data to determine the number of factual errors contained in psychological evaluations and lacks reliable data to determine the number of low-, medium-, and high-risk assessment conclusions in evaluations. Reliable data would allow the parole board to perform certain analytical procedures to measure performance. In addition, we found weaknesses in the parole board’s oversight of the methods it uses to review psychological evaluations. Specifically, the parole board does not require senior psychologists to use source documentation when conducting their reviews, thereby limiting the reviewers’ effectiveness in detecting certain mistakes. In addition, the parole board does not actively monitor senior psychologists’ activities by requiring them to account for their time by case or by activity. Finally, the parole board failed to provide most of its commissioners, deputy commissioners, and senior psychologists with the sufficient number of mandatory training hours.

Where do inmates and attorneys stand TODAY after all the "fuss" with lack of training and errors in the  psychological Evaluations?  Attorney Diane T. Letarte requested an update from the new Inspector General,  Robert A. Barton . See attached response below:

June 11, 2012

 Dear Ms. Letarte:

I am in receipt of your letter dated May 15, 2012. As you may be aware, I was not the Inspector
General at the time of the June 2010 report you referenced. I have now familiarized myself with
the report and I have also endeavored to ascertain if there was a subsequent response from the
Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) to the report. What we have been able to find is a California
Department of CorrectiOilS and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Corrective Action Plan (CAP), submitted
10 us for our January 2011 accountability audit. In the CAP, CDCR indicated their response to
each of our 20 I0 special review findings, with dates and status of implementations. (Please see

I also wanted to inform you that as of July2011, the Office of tile Inspector General no longer
has independent investigation authority or audit responsibilities. Our budget and manpower was
dccreased 45 percent. We now carry out specific statutory duties including: a statewide intake
process for complaints, medical inspections of CDCR institutions, monitoring of the CDCR
employee discipline process, retaliation investigations, sexual assault in detention ombudsman
responsibilities, starting and chairing the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board, conducting
background investigations and providing recommendations to the Governor on all CDCR warden
and superintendent candidates, as well as specific authorized reviews requested by the
Legislature or Governor's Office.

Therefore, we will not be conducting further independent inquiry into your concerns. However,
I have communicated those concerns, as well as your suggestion for the use of recording
equipment for evaluations, to Ms. Jennifer Shaffer, the BPH Executive Officer, for her consideration.
I would urge you to contact her directly wilh any additional BPH issues.

Thank you for your correspondence.

Roben A. Barton
Inspector General

cc: Jennifer Shaffer