California Jails Target Recividism Under Realignment Program


California's “realignment” program to reduce overcrowding in state prisons has already brought changes to how county jails are dealing with inmates, reports Stateline. “Before realignment,” says Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Zimmermann, “we'd incarcerate offenders, provide minimal education as required by the state, and then send them on their way. The focus is very different now because the focus of realignment is reducing recidivism…we only have so many beds, so it's in our best interest that they don't come back.”

Democratic Governor Jerry Brown's plan to sentence non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious offenders to serve their sentences in county jails rather than in state prison was developed to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court order declaring overcrowded conditions in the state prisons unconstitutional, and it was put together quickly in the spring and summer of 2011 during the state's budgeting process, without much public debate or study. Each county had to be ready by October with a plan for how to handle its new influx of inmates.

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