Unhappy with the pace of reforms to reduce the California prison population and save taxpayers money, the Arnold Schwarzenegger administration will shake up leadership of the program, the Los Angeles Times says. The key change will be the transfer of Richard Rimmer, deputy director in charge of the Department of Corrections’ parole division, to another post.
In May, the state’s top corrections leaders unveiled an ambitious shift in parole policy to save taxpayers millions of dollars by reducing the number of ex-convicts returned to prison on parole violations. Instead, California is housing more adult offenders than ever, forcing managers to declare a state of emergency and jam convicts into prison lounges, classrooms, vocational shops, and other ill-suited areas. Rimmer told the Times last month that after an initial reduction in the number of parole violators returned to prison – the figure dropped from 75,000 in 2001 to 60,000 in 2003 – progress had “flat-lined.” He blamed the sluggish gains on a “bureaucratic nightmare” involving hiring freezes and budget cuts, as well as an inability to line up available drug treatment beds and difficulties in contracting with operators of halfway houses for parole violators.