Calling on the state to audit CDCR

Placer County District Attorney’s Office joins CBS Sacramento in their state audit request for CDCR

State lawmakers have publicly agreed that CDCR needs more transparency; have told CBS Sacramento they are planning to move forward with an audit 

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office is joining CBS-Sacramento in their request to the California Legislature and State Auditor to pursue an audit of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

On June 22, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to the Chair of the California Public Safety Committee to request that he submit an audit request to the Joint Committee on Legislative Audit (often referred to as the Joint Legislative Audit Committee or ‘JLAC’) and the State Auditor. 

“My office has done everything from drafting legislation to filing lawsuits and writing letters, to educating our communities and working with local media partners to try and hold CDCR accountable in releasing inmates early. It is critical to public safety and, frankly, to the public trust, that CDCR be transparent in how it determines inmates that are suitable for early release,” said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire. “Not only do we believe the voters were not aware of the unilateral power they gave to CDCR through Prop 57 to award credits, but to do so behind a veil of secrecy creates distrust and skepticism. Our community, particularly victims and survivors of crime and their families, deserve better.” 

In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 57 with the promise of rehabilitation programs to better help inmates re-integrate into society upon release. Releases under Proposition 57 included a hearing process that allowed for written participation by prosecutors and victims and survivors of crime. But Prop. 57 also created a shadow program of “good conduct credits” that lacks oversight, opportunity for feedback, or a mechanism to show successes or failures of the program to help guide future policy decisions. 

Prop. 57 also quietly provided CDCR with the unilateral power to make major policy decisions without public or state officials’ feedback or review. This shadow programming and lack of transparency has led to confusion and distrust. Reports have shown tragic stories of early release failures that resulted in more victimization, including a mass shooting in Sacramento, an early released felon killing a Selma Police Officer, an early released felon’s murder and dismemberment of a local woman, and the tragic death of Sacramento’s Mary Kate Tibbitts. Since these tragedies there has been minimal reaction or explanation from CDCR or state officials. 

The Placer District Attorney’s Office has been at the forefront of bringing these issues to the public eye and working to affect change. In May of 2021, District Attorney Morgan Gire along with 44 other elected district attorneys filed a civil lawsuit against CDCR challenging their “emergency” regulations. In August 2022, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office wrote a letter to CDCR outlining questions surrounding their early release protocols after one of their defendants was release early only to violently dismember an elderly woman. In early 2023, the Place County District Attorney’s Office sponsored AB 1260 with Assemblyman Joe Patterson, which would require CDCR to notify victims when they release inmates for good conduct credits. 

“This is one of the most critical policy problems affecting the public safety of our residents,” said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire. “We will continue to pursue every avenue available to require CDCR to be transparent and accountable in their release determinations. Our residents deserve answers.” 

Read the full letter here.