California’s court-ordered prison reformation: overcapacity down to about 155 percent
Overcapacity in California’s prisons is down to about 155 percent, but in order to comply with a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decree to reduce crowding, that number must fall to 137.5 percent by 2013.
This news is coming from a piece in the Economist regarding the challenges of “realignment.” California’s “tough on crime” laws, which kept extending sentences even for minor crimes, came during the 1970s and resulted in a prison-building boom. State penitentiaries became the fastest-growing major cost in the state budget, apparently.
Gov. Jerry Brown, also governor of California from 1975-1983, has implemented budget and policy changes which the Los Angeles Times reports has significantly reduced prison populations and may also “reclaim” up to $1 billion from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for other state needs.
In a press release by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.‘s office, comes the following statement:
“For too long, the state’s prison system has been a revolving door for lower-level offenders and parole violators who are released within months—often before they are even transferred out of a reception center. Cycling these offenders through state prisons wastes money, aggravates crowded conditions, thwarts rehabilitation, and impedes local law enforcement supervision.”
With the implementation of realignment, the Sacramento Bee reports on a study from the Chief Probation Officers of California, and it seems the California criminal justice system has somehow been able to shift 38,000 felons from state to local authorities.
Matthew Cate, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation since May, 2008, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation‘s website, believes the state has met the court’s initial goal to lower prisoner numbers, but it will need a short extension to satisfy the final count.