Consultant draft report delivered on facilities recommendations
Public comment invited; final report due Nov. 1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Oct. 14, 2009
Consultant Christopher Murray & Associates delivered its draft report to the Office of Financial Management today on which state facilities could be closed or consolidated. The Legislature directed OFM in the state operating budget (House Bill 1244) to hire a contractor to provide recommendations for closing or consolidating institutions in the Department of Corrections, and in the Department of Social and Health Services’ Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration and Division of Developmental Disabilities programs.
The legislation requires the report to recommend reducing 1,580 beds in DOC, 235 beds in JRA and 250 beds in DDD. These reductions were to consider capital costs, economic impacts on communities, impacts on facility staff, projected savings and availability of alternative services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Savings were assumed in the 2009–11 budget of $12 million for DOC and $12 million for JRA for closures. No savings were included in the budget for residential habilitation center beds in DDD.
The consultant’s draft report recommendations are as follows:
Department of Corrections
- Close the old main institution (the original prison behind the concrete walls built in the late 1800s, but not any of the additions, including North Close, the intensive management unit, the minimum-security unit and administration buildings) at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Total beds reduced in this option is 1,653, which includes the closure of Ahtanum View Corrections Center in Yakima and half of Larch Corrections Center in Yacolt. Three close/medium custody units at the Penitentiary could be closed if changes are made to state sentencing policy.
- Downsize McNeil Island to a minimum-security facility. Total beds reduced in this option is 1,618, which includes the closure of Ahtanum View Corrections Center in Yakima. All of Larch Corrections Center in Yacolt and two close/medium custody units at the Penitentiary could be closed if changes are made to state sentencing policy.
If $41 million in capital funding is appropriated to build a medium-security unit and a close-custody unit, and to expand the kitchen, all at the Penitentiary, then the consultant’s recommendation is to choose the option to close the old main institution at the Penitentiary.
The 100 elderly, medically fragile offenders at Ahtanum View would transfer to a minimum-security unit at the Monroe Corrections Complex.
Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration
- Close Maple Lane School in Rochester, which would result in the proviso-mandated reduction of 235 beds.
Developmental Disabilities Division (residential rehabilitation centers)
- Close all beds for intermediate-care facilities at all facilities over an eight-year period.
- Close, in phases, Francis Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton by 2013.
- Close, in phases, Rainier School in Buckley by 2017.
- Keep open Fircrest, Lakeland Village and Yakima Valley with a small number of skilled nursing facility beds.
The budget proviso requiring the study did not identify a savings target for the 250-bed reduction in the residential habilitation centers, which would be achieved by 2013. The consultant’s recommendations would cost the state in the first year of implementation before savings begin.
Residents from the closed facilities would be moved into either smaller state-run facilities or private community-care settings. The aim of the recommendation, though not required in the budget proviso, is to close all residential habilitation centers within an eight-year period, except for the skilled nursing facility beds.
Fiscal analysis for the recommendations by the consultant has not been completed, but will be available by Nov. 1.
The final report is due to the governor and Legislature Nov. 1.
Christopher Murray & Associates of Olympia was selected as the primary contractor following a competitive bidding process conducted in the spring. The contract totaled $463,000; OFM was appropriated $500,000 to contract for the study.
Contact: Kate Lykins Brown, Office of Financial Management, 360-902-0619