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Prison drug-treatment blues

Yesterday’s editions carried a story about how the governor has moved the longtime director of the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs over into the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to take over the state prisons’ substance-abuse treatment programs, which a new report from the state Inspector General calls an utter disaster.

Read that report here. And here’s an older report, from last October, on similar issues.

A highlight from the executive summary of this week’s report:

This litany of problems adds up to a $1 billion failure — failure to provide an environment that would allow the programs to work; failure to provide an effective treatment model; failure to ensure that the best contractors are chosen to do the job at the lowest possible price; failure to oversee the contractors to make sure they provide the services they agree to provide; failure to exert the fiscal controls necessary to protect public funds; failure to
learn from and correct mistakes — and most tragically, failure to help California inmates change their lives and, in so doing, make our streets safer.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.