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State Corrections Seeks Millions for IT in Budget Change Proposals

In four budget change proposals, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation looks to address technology service change, cybersecurity and project needs.

The state department that facilitates the rehabilitation and reintegration of the incarcerated back into the community currently has the highest number of budget change proposals (BCPs) of any state entity on file with the California Department of Finance (DOF) – and several center on technology.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) now has a total of 45 BCPs on file with DOF. BCPs generally reflect funding needs or reductions for new programs or for changes to existing programs or activities authorized by the Legislature. Of CDCR’s BCPs, four include requests for funding to support IT platforms, projects, service changes or cybersecurity needs:

  • CDCR is seeking $19.5 million in General Fund monies and 10 positions in the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year, and $1.4 million in FY 2023-2024 and ongoing to “develop an e-discovery platform,” and increasing staffing for the “centralized video storage and redaction unit.” More specifically, this includes “one-time funding” to procure and stand up a platform to aggregate and reduce the redundancy of electronically stored information, and improve the timely response to discovery requests, partnering with the California Department of Technology (CDT), plus time to “understand the exact nature of the ongoing funding associated with the solution.” The 10 permanent positions will support CDCR “redaction and platform support functions.” Adding a new “centralized storage and case management platform” will, CDCR said in the BCP, “improve the integrity” of e-discovery overall.
  • The department is seeking 22 positions and $3.1 million from the General Fund in FY 2022-2023 and ongoing for “additional Mental Health reporting tasks”; and a new data validation initiative as a result of a class-action lawsuit filed in 1990, to address a rise in reporting requests from stakeholders. CDCR got underway in October 2020 on the data validation project, with the aim to validate quality improvement data. Events surrounding the court case have permanently changed the way CDCR must “collect, process and measure data”; new processes created make it essential for the department to “refine some indicators, develop new indicators, and validate and maintain all indicators and mental health reports on an ongoing basis to ensure all data are as accurate as possible.” There’s an increasing need for resources in the “Research Data Series,” per the BCP – partially due to “additional requirements related to data analytics ordered by the ... court, which have created increased and ongoing workload.”
  • CDCR is asking for $11.5 million from the General Fund in FY 2022-2023, $16.1 million in FY 2023-2024, and $17.5 million in FY 2024-2025 and ongoing “to cover the increased cost of moving to a statewide contract for Microsoft end-user licensing agreement” (MELA). This ask is the result of “statewide standardization for a shared email solution,” per the BCP, a concept first mandated by the Legislature in 2010, resulting in departments moving to shared email supported by CDT. The new MELA means CDCR’s and California Correctional Health Care Services’ costs will rise as the result of “negotiated per-user annual licensing costs.” The department needs an ongoing funding increase, it said, “to cover the additional costs associated with licensing fees under the new statewide MELA contract.” Microsoft software and applications are “thoroughly embedded in user productivity at all levels within the department,” with networks and servers either provided by or interfacing with Microsoft operating systems, end-user devices using Microsoft Windows – and the incarcerated using Microsoft solutions to “interact with family, attend parole board hearings, and participate in a learning environment.”
  • The department is asking for nine positions and $4.4 million from the General Fund in FY 2022-2023 and $5.2 million from the General Fund in FY 2023-2024 and ongoing “to address information security and cybersecurity vulnerability.” It would spend $1.8 million in FY 2022-2023 and $2.6 million ongoing to “support endpoint protection software for the 37,000 thin-client laptops” to be deployed “systemwide” for the incarcerated to use with educational programming consistent with an earlier BCP that centered on tech for inmates who take part in academic programs. CDCR, which manages sensitive and confidential data for thousands, is “susceptible to breaches that could result in additional costs in the form of data, productivity and reputational loss” according to the BCP. This request would do a software align with CDT’s 2021 Cal-Secure Information Security Maturity Roadmap, with positions requested focusing on various aspects of cybersecurity needs.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.