The new California state budget deal includes $1.1 billion in cuts from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, says KALW Radio in San Francisco. Where will that money come from? Staff costs are 80 percent of the prisons budget and is a likely candidate for spending cuts. One proposal would change shifts for some prison guards from eight hours to 12 (which means only two shifts to staff per day, not three). Another would cut staff at the California Institution for Women, Norco (where a recent riot was linked by some to covercrowding and understaffing, and the California Institute for Men (where rioters were moved).
Medical care is expected to take a $820 million hit. A new law paved the way for “medical parole.” Other population changes, like moving those convicted of petty theft and in some cases, grand theft to county jail, may help as well. No mass release of inmates is planned. Last year, the corrections department also was told to cut about a billion from its budget. Much of that ended up coming from rehabilitation programs, many of which were shut down.