Repeat felons in a San Diego jail are learning precise culinary skills while serving time, says the San Diego Union-Tribune. They are students in a new baking and pastry-making class started in January. The program is an outgrowth of California’s decision to shift responsibility for some criminals from state prisons to county jails. It eased overcrowding in the prisons by letting inmates who have committed less serious crimes serve their time in county jails, where local authorities might have a better chance to rehabilitate them.
“A lot of us have lost our sense of responsibility,” said inmate Langston Stevens, 36, a budding pastry maker doing time for a drug offense. “This helps give us a sense of self-worth.” Inmates jockeyed to get a coveted spot in the baking and pastry-making class. The class runs a minimum of six months, which two years ago would not have been possible, given that the average inmate's jail stay was around 70 days. Now, the average stay for a sentenced inmate in county jail is around 18 to 24 months.