In response to a ruling by the Supreme Court, CDCR (California prisons) began moving low-level California prisoners from state prisons to county jails. This is one of the prison reform ideas that California Governor Jerry Brown came up with to decrease the state inmate population.
The Supreme Court ordered that the overcrowded conditions be decreased by 11,000 by January, 2012. The ruling further ordered that a decrease of another 34,000 be made by 2013.
The ruling, which came down last spring, stated that the overcrowding in the state pens were responsible for creating poor conditions, and were a violation of the prisoners’ constitutional rights.
The “Changing of the Guards” with California Prisoners began last Monday, October 3rd, in an attempt to reduce the state prison population to 133,000 by this December. State officials are calling the plan a “realignment of the criminal justice system.” This part of the realignment only affects the following California state prisoners:
Considered low-level prisoners
Convicted of non-violent offenses
Convicted of non-sex-related offenses
No history of spousal abuse convictions
No convictions of any type of crimes against children
Transferring California prisoners to California county jails means more than just an immediate decrease in the current prison population. Here are some other affects these changes will have:
Releases will be made to local county probation officers instead of state parole officers.
Newly convicted prisoners of low-level crimes will serve their time in county jails instead of returning to prison.
Newly accused defendants will await trials under house arrest, instead of being automatically violated by their parole officers and sent back to prison.
Should have a major effect on the prison “revolving door” crisis, where extremely minor parole violations send parolees back to prison for short periods of time.
Many county jails are so overcrowded (Los Angeles county definitely qualifies), that most offenders will have to be released even earlier than expected. This will be especially true for inmates with very little time left anyway. Most of these prisoners will have to be released with electronic monitoring devices under house arrest rules and regulations.
Rumors from the inside say that other changes are being made to accommodate this plan. They say that plans are being made to turn some of the current prisons into California pre-release prisons. Pre-release prisons are supposed to focus on helping prisoners who are about to be released prepare to transition back into society. Prisoners should be learning basic skills such as occupying their time, finding jobs, budgeting their money and other life skills.
Pre-release prison facilities will probably be for low-level inmates who have done too many years in prison to be immediately released back into the free world. These inmates will require a transitional period in order to be able to cope on the outside and maintain a healthy life without crime. (I have been unable to verify these rumors at this time.)
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