Government & Politics
5:01 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Is More Parole The Answer For Overcrowding in California Prisons?

California Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. Releasing more inmates may not be popular, but one law professor says it could be the way to go. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

About 30,000 inmates are serving life sentences in California prisons. Of those inmates, about 9,000 are currently eligible for parole.  UCLA Law Professor Sharon Dolovich  says if the state is looking to reduce its prison population, that might be a good place to start.

"All the studies show that people who have served multiple decades in prison, when they are released have an incredibly low recidivism rate compared to the population of former prisoners over all," says Dolovich.

But in a statement, the Department of Corrections says, many of those inmates committed , quote, heinous crimes and the decision to release any one of them on parole deserves very serious consideration.

Federal courts have ordered California to reduce overcrowding by either releasing inmates or increasing prison capacity by the end of the year.

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