Realignment and Re-entry

Like most states, California has never seriously invested in helping ex-offenders re-establish themselves in society after serving their time. To the contrary, ex-offenders are stigmatized in a variety of ways—barred from many forms of employment, unable to receive public benefits of various kinds, and effectively disenfranchised.Because California is now required by a federal court to significantly reduce state prison populations, this could be an opportunity for low-level offenders to be released into re-entry programs. Instead, under what is called “realignment,” many county sheriffs are seeking to keep low-level offenders locked up rather than assist in their successful re-entry. We need to fight for real re-entry support services if realignment is not to become just another form of warehousing.

Jerry Brown’s Prison Reforms Haven’t Lived Up to His Billing

early 15 months after launching what he called the "boldest move in criminal justice in decades," Gov. Jerry Brown declared victory over a prison crisis that had appalled federal judges and stumped governors for two decades. Diverting thousands of criminals from state prisons into county jails and probation departments not only had eased crowding, he said, but also reduced costs, increased safety and improved rehabilitation. "The prison emergency is over in California," Brown said in early … [Read more...]

Governor Brown Given Another Chance to Offer Real Solutions to Prison Overcrowding in California

hen LA Times reporter Paige St. John tweeted that private prison industry leader Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) stock took a nose dive after the federal judges announced they would give California two additional years to reduce the state prison population to 137 percent of design capacity, I took note. Bad news for the private prison shareholders usually means good news for criminal justice reformers. Back in October I received a cold call from an innocuous sounding firm that … [Read more...]

No Link Between California’s Prison Realignment and Increased Crime?

espite being blamed by some members of law enforcement for a recent uptick in crime in some counties, there is no connection between California’s Prison Realignment and increased criminal activity, according to a report released Wednesday. The Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice report found little evidence of there being more crime due to realignment based on random crime trends in counties since the implementation of the law. For example, Los Angeles County, which has one of the … [Read more...]

Gov. Jerry Brown Ramping Up Private Prison Spending

ov. Jerry Brown plans to increase California's use of private prison cells and leases with local jails even if federal judges agree to give the state more time to meet crowding limits within its own lockups, his budget documents show. Detailed expenditure records released after Brown announced the highlights of his proposed budget for 2014-15 show that the governor expects to increase the use of outside prison contracts. His plan sets aside nearly $500 million to pay for and administer … [Read more...]

Will Federal Judges Delay California Prison Inmate Cap?

failure by state authorities and attorneys representing prison inmates to reach an agreement on the best way to reduce overcrowding has given the state a little more time to meet its court-ordered deadline to reduce the prison population. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration was ordered to reduce the state prison population to about 110,000 or 137.5 percent of prison capacity as a way to improve the quality of inmates’ health. To accomplish that, Assembly Bill 109, the state’s prison realignment … [Read more...]

Jerry Brown’s Cynical, Unethical Prison Plan

California's governor was trained by Jesuits and understands what we mean by the words "moral economy." Nevertheless, the nation's oldest guv has gone completely off the rails in his rage against a federal court order to reduce state prison populations to 137.5 percent of their design capacity. Facing the court's mandate to get this done by year's end, Brown has balked and fulminated in the manner of George Wallace rather than heed the many constituencies, including State Senate Democrats, … [Read more...]

Alternatives to Jerry Brown’s “More Cages” Prison Plan Proposed

Governor Jerry Brown’s just-proposed plan to ease overcrowding in California prisons without releasing inmates early has drawn quick opposition from prison reform activists across the state and has spawned an alternative approach from a contingent of moderate and liberal Democrats in the state legislature, creating an unusual rift among senior Democrats in the age-old incarceration-rehabilitation divide that usually pits Republican against Democrat. Announced Tuesday, Brown’s plan would spend … [Read more...]

Gov. Jerry Brown Attacks Carmen Trutanich for Flip-Flop on Prison Realignment

Gov. Jerry Brown has weighed in on the race for L.A. city attorney, recording a robocall attacking incumbent Carmen Trutanich for "misleading voters" on the issue of prison realignment. Trutanich supported Brown's realignment plan when he ran for district attorney last year. But now that he's running for re-election as city attorney, Trutanich has turned against realignment and is attacking opponent Mike Feuer for supporting it. The plan addresses prison overcrowding by transferring … [Read more...]