Study Finds Disparity in Use of Prison by Some California Counties


San Bernardino and Alameda counties in California have about the same crime rate, but San Bernardino sends twice as many people to prison and uses more state corrections money than its Bay Area counterpart, according to a new policy report cited by the Contra Costa Times. W. David Ball, a criminal law professor at Santa Clara University and the author of the study, found that 18 of the state’s 58 counties used prison at a high rate.

He said all state taxpayers shell out for the high prison-usage counties. The state could get a better bang for its buck if it sent prison money to areas of the state with the highest violent-crime rates, instead of equally throughout the counties. If counties want to use more prison services than the statistical average, Ball says they should pay for it.

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