Today, Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) announced his request that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee authorize an audit of Liberty Healthcare’s long-running exclusive contract to manage the Sexually Violent Predator Conditional Release Program (SVP CONREP) currently overseen by the Department of State Hospitals (DSH).
“East Coast based-Liberty Healthcare sneaks into unsuspecting communities up and down California and employs a disturbing placement strategy known as ‘Hide the Predator,’ in which full details of where they are leasing homes for SVPs are kept secret from neighbors, school officials, and even local law enforcement,” said Leader Jones. “On the campaign trail, I promised to hold Liberty Healthcare accountable and get to the bottom of their poor handling of SVP placements. Today, I’m following through on those promises and requesting a full audit of Liberty Healthcare’s process.”
Click here to download the full letter. Below is an excerpt from the letter:
SVP CONREP is a rogue program coming under increasing public scrutiny and criticism for its lack of accountability and transparency, its wasteful spending of tax dollars, its casual treatment of public safety concerns, and its unresponsiveness to local officials and state legislative offices.
The trail of Liberty Healthcare’s SVP placement disasters ranges from trying to place Cary Verse (convicted of multiple attacks on young boys in Contra Costa County) in Merced County in 2003, to multiple recent attempts last year to place known child sex predator Douglas Badger near schools, bus stops, and day care centers in San Diego County.
Here is just a small sample of the media reports on Liberty Healthcare’s complete disregard for the public safety of California’s neighborhoods, families, and children:
“The CA Department of State Hospitals (DSH) and their Conditional Release Program contractor, Liberty Healthcare have a history of improperly vetting properties regarding community safety . . . When measuring the success or failure of CONREP, consider that 70 percent of SVP’s released into communities in California were returned to custody. Why? In the words of the Liberty Healthcare Representative, Dr. Cameron Zeidler, they were returned for ‘technical reasons or sex not involving a human.’”
“Liberty holds a lucrative state contract to run California’s conditional release program for jury-designated ‘SVPs’ . . . Liberty is budgeted to get $6.75 million from the state in the current fiscal year . . . The amount DSH pays Liberty for CONREPO services has risen by $34,000 per client on average in the last two years, its newest estimate states. The department expects  SVPs will be conditionally released in the state at an average cost of $344,000 per client.”
- Victorville Daily Press, 11/23/2021
It’s long past time to bring the details of the DSH sweetheart deal with Liberty Healthcare into the light of day.
I therefore respectfully request that the State Auditor be authorized to conduct an audit to determine the following:
- How many SVPs have actually been successfully placed (never getting arrested again, not violating regulations, not having to be recommitted back to DSH in Coalinga) under the exclusive agreement between DSH and Liberty Healthcare since 2003?
- How much has California paid in total to Liberty Healthcare and all other vendors/contractors over the last twenty years to place SVPs through the CONREP program?
- Direct the Auditor to evaluate the contracts that Liberty Healthcare has had with the state for the last twenty years and determine if they met the DSH standard of “Community Safety is the top priority”?
- Direct the Auditor to review past legislation on SVPs (including SB 1034 from last session that, while well intentioned, is full of loopholes) and make policy and regulatory recommendations that would further tighten-up the SVP placement program and further protect communities from placement of SVPs in inappropriate neighborhoods?