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Final report delivered on facilities recommendations

Report to be transmitted to governor, Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —Nov. 4, 2009

OLYMPIAConsultant Christopher Murray & Associates delivered its final report to the Office of Financial Management about 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.

With its delivery to the governor, the recommendations will be taken under advisement by OFM as it builds the governor’s 2010 supplemental budget, which will be released in December.

The consultant’s final report recommendations are virtually the same as those delivered in the draft report, with the exception of a new option for the Department of Corrections. Summaries of the recommendations, by agency, are as follows:

Department of Corrections

Option 1:

If capital funding is not available to construct new housing units at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, the consultant’s recommendation is to:

Under this option, 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.

OR

Option 2:

If option 1 is not selected and capital funding is available for new construction at the Washington State Penitentiary, the consultant’s recommendation is to:

Under this option, three close/medium custody units at the Penitentiary could be closed if changes are made to state sentencing policy.

OR

Option 3:

This is the consultant’s preferred recommendation. Under this option, if $41 million in capital funds are available for new housing units at the Washington State Penitentiary, it is recommended that Option 1 be taken while facilities are constructed in Walla Walla.

Once the new housing units are built at the Penitentiary (projected completion by 2015), McNeil Island is reopened as a medium-security facility and the Main Institution at the Penitentiary is closed. The consultant estimates that this option would save the state $180 million in operating costs and $80 million in capital expenditures over the next 10 years.

Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (essentially same as delivered in the draft report)

Developmental Disabilities Division (residential rehabilitation centers) (essentially same as delivered in the draft report)

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.

The final report is available here.

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