After decades of neglect in California, prison rehabilitation programs are seeing a resurgence, despite some hiccups, says KALW Radio in San Francisco. For California, this emphasis on rehabilitation is fairly new. For almost 30 years, the state maintained a strict “tough-on-crime” stance, since Jerry Brown's first term as governor starting in 1977. During this period, the California Department of Corrections, as it was then called, eliminated most of its educational and work programs. “We call them the ‘hook ’em and book ’em years,'” says Jean Bracy, principal of Folsom State Prison's adult education programs.
In 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger started re-emphasizing rehabilitation. But as the state began planning for new programs, it faced major budget shortfalls. The rehabilitation efforts were some of the first things to go. Thanks in part to realignment, things seem to be shifting once again. Prison officials now have $460 million for rehabilitation efforts – nearly twice as much as they had before. Most state prisons don't have a lot of new programs available yet. However, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation hopes to have them up and running by this time next year.