California Has Cut Its Prison Population of Drug Criminals In Half


California has cut the number of prisoners in state facilities for drug convictions in half during the last two years, diverting thousands to local jails, says the Sacramento Bee. It’s been almost two years since the U.S. Supreme Court said California must cut its prison population drastically due to overcrowding. The resulting realignment has largely focused on reducing the number of drug criminals in state prison through attrition and diversion. On the last day of 2010, about 25,000 drug criminals were in California prisons. On the last day of 2012, that number had fallen 50 percent to roughly 12,400, says the latest report from the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The figures represent a sharp acceleration of a long-term trend away from incarcerating drug criminals in state prison. About one drug criminal sits in a California state prison today for every three incarcerated five years ago. California now incarcerates about 33 drug criminals in state prison per 100,000 residents; the national average is 75 drug criminals per 100,000 residents, federal data show.

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