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Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Oversight, and Improve the Prison System

NCJ Number
238857
Date Published
2011
Length
224 pages
Annotation
This "blueprint" for the future of California corrections presents a comprehensive plan to satisfy the U.S. Supreme Court's order to reduce the State's prison population while enabling California to regain and maintain control of the State's prison system for years to come.
Abstract
For years, California's prison system has faced costly, persistent challenges. Overcrowded prison conditions culminated in a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court ordering the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates by June 2013. At the same time that prison problems were mounting, California's budget was becoming increasingly imbalanced. In order to achieve budgetary savings and comply with Federal court requirements, the Governor proposed, and the Legislature enacted, landmark prison realignment legislation intended to ease prison crowding and reduce the DCR's budget by 18 percent. Realignment created and funded a community-based correctional program in which lower level offenders remain under the jurisdiction of county governments. In the 6 months that realignment has been in effect, the State prison population has declined by approximately 22,000 inmates. The prison population reduction achieved by realignment has improved the ability of the State to provide quality health care for inmates, created the flexibility to implement new policies that will improve offender management, and increased opportunities for rehabilitative programming. In order to implement these policies, the DCR has re-evaluated its entire operation, and developed a plan to complete necessary facility improvements and redistribute resources to ensure safe operations. The combined effects of the prison population reduction under realignment, new offender management policies, redistributing resources, and reduced recidivism will be significant savings and more effective outcomes. Extensive figures