Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wait Listed By Jail-15

"The California budget crisis has forced the state to address a problem that expert panels and judges have wrangled over for decades: how to reduce prison overcrowding. ... Many in the state still advocate a tough approach, with long sentences served in full, and some early problems with released inmates have given critics reason to complain. But fiscal reality, coupled with a court-ordered reduction in the prison population, is pouring cold water on old solutions like building more prisons. ... The strains on the system are evident inside the state prison here, about 50 miles north of Los Angeles, where 4,600 inmates fill buildings intended for half as many. A stuffy, cacophonous gymnasium houses nearly 150 people in triple-bunked beds stretching wall to wall. The new effort this year is intended to remove from prisons criminals who are considered less threatening and divide them into two categories: those who pose little or no risk outside the prison walls, and those who need regular supervision. ... To slow the return of former inmates to prison for technical violations of their parole, hundreds of low-level offenders will be released without close supervision from parole officers. Those officers will focus instead on tracking serious, violent offenders. ... The state spends, on average $47,000 per year to house a prisoner. Early estimates suggest the new changes could save $100 million this year. ... California is the only state that places all prisoners on parole at release, no matter what the offense, Professor [Joan] Petersilia sad, and usually for one to three years. .. . Even the guards' union, which so heavily promoted and supported the tough sentencing of the past that fueled the prison building and expansion boom, now says it supports the idea of alternatives to prison and did not publicly object to the new law", Randal Archibold at the NYT, 24 March 2010, link:

Even the guards' union. Wow. Times must be tough in California.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"... Even the guards' union. Wow..."

My thought exactly.