Rosser's Projection of the Jail Space
We Supposedly Will Need in 2018
(the year the new jail is supposed to open)
Rosser says we need lots of empty beds--on an average day 168 empty beds. Why? For peak months, those months expected to occur about once every six-and-a-half years. Then, without those empty beds, we might actually have to release intyo community custody some pretrial defendants to have sufficient room for new prisoners. To Rosser, not having to ever release a single pretrial defendant awaiting trial is sufficient justification for oversizing the jail.
This is according to Rosser'sr new 2013 needs assessment. In their previous needs assessment done in 2010, they said we needed to leave almost 20% of the cells or beds empty on an average day so that on that once-in-years time when the jail fills up we won't have to release anyone.
But do you believe the Sheriff will leave those empty cells unfilled?
Rosser’s Earlier Needs Assessments
Rosser wrote a Custody Needs Assessment report that was released in March of 1999. It has been used by Sheriffs Thomas, Anderson, and Brown to argue for funds for the construction of a second jail in Santa Barbara County, even if it was apparent that grossly exaggerated. Although I have not located a copy of the report, it is described in the County's 2005 New Jail Study:
Santa Barbara Jail Facts
The 1999 report provided an in-depth discussion including reasons for overcrowding, the needs of northern Santa Barbara County, the inefficacy of Alternative Sentencing Programs, description and trends of inmate populations, and population projections through 2020.
The completely incompetent needs assessment work by Rosser's subsidiary "Rosser Justice Systems" which induced the County to embark on a budget-breaking and totally unnecessary construction project provides ample grounds for termination of all contracts with Rosser and an action to recover costs.
To see just how bad Rosser's architectural and engineering specifications can be, check out what happened on a Rosser project in Texas ten years ago:
Rosser’s Disastrous Construction Fiasco in Texas
A Google search revealed details of a lawsuit against Rosser 15 years ago in Texas over Rosser’s faulty engineering and architectural specifications. According to the lawsuit (eventually settled out of court), Rosser’s incompetent design work resulted in over 400 change orders causing the $47 million project to go 32% over budget and run a year behind schedule. The project's initial budget was $47 million, but the final cost was more than $62 million.
Here are some quoted comments taken from accounts in the local paper (the Lubbock Texas Avalanche Journal) that followed the unfolding disaster for two years, from 1998 through 2000 (italics and boldface added added).
(Various news articles may be accessed through the website http://search.lubbockonline.com/fast-elements.php?type=standard&profile=lubbock&querystring=%22ROSSER%20INTERNATIONAL%22 )
Several subcontractors told The Avalanche-Journal last month that the arena designs were inferior to those of other arenas, and construction had been beset with an unusually high number of change orders.
One subcontractor, who also was a subcontractor for construction of The Ballpark in Arlington and the Alamodome in San Antonio, said plans for the $51 million United Spirit Arena were ''the worst by far I've ever seen.''
Ray Ashe, the project manager for the architectural firm Rosser International of Atlanta, described problems associated with the arena on Friday as ''common,'' and ''nothing major.''
But structural subcontractors for the arena, described as the ''crown jewel'' of campus architecture, say the project is beset with design flaws that have generated excessive change orders, delayed construction and inflated costs.
John Beck Sr. of Lubbock-based Beck Steel, said architects at Rosser have exacerbated the difficulties on the Tech project through ''their lack of ability to answer questions and their arrogant attitude.'' ''They act like every trade on the job is some sort of West Texas hayseed who doesn't understand the job,'' Beck said. ''Their arrogance and attitude are major problems.'' ''The drawings for this project are the worst by far I've ever seen,'' Beck said. ''There was just atrocious engineering done on this job.'' The comments were echoed by other subcontractors on the project.
''We have had a great deal of difficulty,'' said Carl Williams of Derr Construction, a steel erection company in Euless. ''Our view is the design engineer did not produce an acceptable set of construction documents.”
Mark Newman, the project manager for CoMet Steel in Dallas, said his company has generated ''a massive amount'' of changes on the job. ''This being a concrete structure, when they change the quantities of the concrete and the sizing of the steel core that goes into that concrete, we've had to add more steel,'' Newman said. ''It's almost like they started over when they began construction.''
In claims against Rosser, the suit alleges that ''many aspects of the arena design were in fact seriously flawed, and the plans and specifications were in many respects deficient, requiring additional and corrective work, which significantly increased the cost of the arena and caused substantial delays throughout the construction period.''
A spokesman for the architect, Atlanta-based Rosser International, has said previously that the problems were typical of any large project.
Montford indicated dissatisfaction with the architectural firm last month when he told university regents he would likely ''engage different firms'' if he could start over. He then said he was not referring to Centex Construction Co., the arena's general contractor.
Rosser International Inc. is the Atlanta-based architectural firm that designed the arena. Officials in Atlanta who are familiar with the project were not in their offices Tuesday, and a Lubbock-based representative was not available for comment.
In his letter, Montford said, ''Almost from the day the general contractor took possession of the premises, Tech was beset with challenges related to the plans provided by the architects.
Were those who decided to award the architectural contract for the new jail to Rosser even aware of this lawsuit?
Or was the decision to award the contract to Rosser decided in advance, as a payback for Rosser’s help in providing the Sheriff with the phony projections he needed to sell the new jail to the State to get the $80 million in State money he needed to build the jail?
As can be seen, the principal “error” is that Rosser begins, for the year after the report was issued, 2000, with a number that is 39% higher than the actual reported ADP for the year (872). This reflects (but only in part) Rosser’s assumption that all early releases, regardless of their purpose, should be ended, and presumably that pre-trial sight releases of those charged with misdemeanors also should be ended.
Thereafter, Rosser assumes a relatively low annual rate of increase from 2000 to 2010 of 1.46% a year. But the actual rate of increase was only 0.75% a year resulting in an overestimation of the 2010 ADP by 49%. The magnitude of these errors is so great as to effectively discredit Rosser’s 1999 Needs Assessment. However, the Sheriff disingenously fed these invalidated projections to the Blue Ribbon Commission during its investigation in 2007, and mentioned them in reports as late as the end of 2011. The deceptive use of this data is explained in the following analysis of the 2005 New Jail Planning Study and 2008 Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Committee: Click here to view it.
More detailed analyses were done of the two later Rosser needs assessments:
Click here to see an analysis of Rosser's latest (2013) error-filled Needs Assessment
Click here to see an analysis of Rosser's 2010 error-filled Needs Survey.
Here are links to the original Rosser needs assessment documents:
Click here for Rosser's 2010 Needs Assessment
Click here for Rosser's 2013 Needs Assessment
Click here to see the investigative report on Rosser's work in Alameda County
The analysis done of the effect of the Realignment on the future need for jail beds is relates to Rosser's needs projections. The analysis shows that the modest increase in the ADP of sentenced prisoners does not come close to supporting the need for a new jail or even for more jail space.
Click here to see this analysis.
The County's 2011 and 2013 Realignment Act Implementation Plans May be viewed here:
Click here for the 2011 Realignment Plan
Click here for the 2013 Realignment Plan
Chronicle of Payments to Rosser
and Related Service Providers
1996 Initial contract for work on new jail (project 2126) with LM & R, a joint venture between the local architetural firm Lenvik & Minor and Rosser Justice Systems, a subdivision of Rosser International of Atlanta
3/23/1999 Amendment 1: $200,000 for predesign and an updated needs assessment (preparatory to tax measure to support jail?)
11/23/1999 Amendment 2: added $200,000 to contract
Unknown date: work suspended (after failure of tax measure?)
5/24/2005 Amendment 3. $916,265 added to contract bringing total to $1,316,265. Letter from Sheriff Anderson dated 3/12/2005 in file: "The severe overcrowding at the existing jail is not going to get better."
7/17/2007 Amendment 4: new hourly schedule for work by LM & R (amount not shown)
3/24/2008 Amendment 5: added $200,000 to contract to bring total to $1,516,265. $75,000 to consultant on getting AB900 grants. (Why???)
5/14/13 $426,385 to Liebert & Associates "to provide detention project expertise and related consulting;" $2,270,000 to Kitchell/CEM, Inc. for "professional construction management and relating consulting services;" $133,575.48 to Leann Anderson of the Capital Projects Division of General Services Department for "Jail Project Coordinator Services;"
and not to exceed $5,410,435 to Rosser International "to provide professional detention architectural-engineering and related consulting services"
Excerpts from 53 page contract with Rosser:
Termination of contract:
The remark about the "inefficacy of Alternative Sentencing programs” suggests a key underlying assumption of all Rosser needs studies: that the need for future jail bed space should be based on prisoners serving full sentences and existing 70%+ levels of incarceration of pretrial defendants.
I have not been able to locate a copy of the 1999 Rosser Needs Study, but many of its projections of future jail needs are cited in subsequent studies and reports.
The following table gives the projections I have been able to obtain from these studies and reports together with the actual ADP values (averaged for the four quarters of the years cited):