State Attempts to Track Effect of Realignment

Jul 23, 2013

A state board agreed this week to partner with the Public Policy Institute of California to examine the effects of a change to the state’s criminal justice policy called realignment.

California’s two-year old law downgraded certain crimes to jail-only offenses, diverting tens of thousands of lower-level felons from serving time in state prisons. It also put counties in charge of supervising lower level felons once they’re released from prison and parole violators.

Prison Medical Facility Opens in Stockton

Jun 25, 2013

California prison officials opened a new medical facility in Stockton today designed to improve treatment for 1,700 of the state’s sickest inmates.  The opening of the 200-acre facility will also ease crowding in prisons — something that could appease a federal court that has ordered California to reduce the inmate population to ensure they receive basic healthcare.  KPCC’s  Julie Small reports.

Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A federal three-judge panel is reiterating its order to California Governor Jerry Brown to reduce prison overcrowding. Today’s ruling even removes any state and local laws that might get in the way. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The judges have ordered California to immediately expand its good time credit program, which allows inmates to get out of prison early.  The judges also waived any state or local laws preventing the release of prisoners.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department offered a glimpse today of how realignment is working. The program diverts low-level offenders to county jails in an effort to reduce state prison overcrowding.

A study done by the department compares inmates released pre- and post- realignment. It found post-realignment offenders were re-arrested at a lower rate than pre-realignment offenders. Both groups were convicted of new crimes at nearly the same rate. The department’s Jeffrey Callison stresses this is just a snapshot.     

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The top Democrat in the California Senate is calling for more crisis access to mental health services to help reduce the state’s overcrowded prisons. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the proposals likely wouldn’t satisfy a federal court order to reduce the state’s prison population.

CA Dept of Corrections

“The best of the bad options”. That’s how the Department of Corrections is characterizing its plan to reduce prison overcrowding in California. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

More inmates will be sent to lower security fire camps, some elderly and sick prisoners will be paroled early, additional beds will be leased from county jails. Those are among the measures California is proposing to further reduce prison overcrowding.

On Monday afternoon, the federal receiver in charge of health care in California’s prisons ordered the state prison to remove inmates from two Central Valley prisons who are especially at risk of contracting valley fever.  A day later, the state and experts are digesting that directive. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports, as part of the Reporting on Health Collaborative’s investigation into the disease.


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.

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is taking hits both inside and outside the State Capitol as he faces a stinging federal court order to reduce California’s prison population - and impassioned calls to expand it.  Katie Orr has more from Sacramento on the events Tuesday that show the competing political and legal pressures surrounding the governor.

What's Next for Governor Brown After Prison Court Ruling?

Apr 15, 2013
Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

California faces sanctions, fines and possible jail time for Governor Jerry Brown if the state continues to defy a federal court order to reduce its prison population.   That harsh ruling from a three-judge panel came last week in response to the governor’s motion to vacate a prison population cap those judges imposed seven years ago – when they found that overcrowding was the main reason inmates suffered and died from a lack of healthcare.  Now, they say overcrowding is still a problem.  KPCC’s Julie Small looks at what options are left for Governor Brown and the state.