Twenty-four students toured California’s Folsom State Prison in a San Diego State University course that offers an unflinching look at the state’s troubled prison system, says the San Diego Union-Tribune. Paul Sutton, a criminal justice professor, created the weeklong “Prisons in Theory and Practice” course in 1984. Many experts complain that California’s 32 prisons remain more focused on warehousing and punishing inmates than on rehabilitation. “The answers we’re providing aren’t working,” Sutton told students.
Students tour Folsom’s pride and joy, the license plate factory. Inmates manufacture every license plate issued in California, stamping out as many as 45,000 a day. Inmates at Folsom and other prisons complain that budget cuts have left them with little to do. Prison administrators last year eliminated hundreds of vocational classes throughout the state. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants more emphasis on rehabilitation, but it’s not clear how the cash-strapped state will pay for improvements in parole and other programs. Sutton is skeptical that change is in the wings. “Nothing is going to change because (Schwarzenegger) isn’t willing to pay for it,” he tells students.