The California prison system has unveiled an extensive plan to cut spending by billions of dollars, close a prison, and return inmates being housed out of state — all while meeting court-ordered benchmarks on medical care and overcrowding, reports the Los Angeles Times. In three years, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is expected to be 7.5 percent of the state budget, down from an estimated 9.4 percent in the upcoming fiscal year.
This is largely because of realignment, the process of sending low-level offenders to local jails instead of state prisons to comply with a court order to reduce chronic overcrowding. “California is finally getting its prison costs under control and taking the necessary steps to meet federal court mandates,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. Although courts have ordered the state to reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of prison capacity, the state expects to fall slightly short, at 141% — a difference of up to 6,000 inmates — by the June 2013 deadline.