Blueprint for Reform (2007)
California’s prison overcrowding crisis has reached the boiling point. A system designed for approximately 80,000 inmates is now bursting with more than 170,000. Prisoners are double-and-triple bunked in many facilities. Gymnasiums and classrooms are being used for emergency housing. Staff shortages make adequate inmate oversight and implementation of rehabilitation programs impossible. Prison healthcare is in the hands of a federal receiver and the rest of the prison system faces potential federal takeover — which could result in forced releases of inmates, required expenditures of additional billions of state dollars, or both.
Yet the prison crisis is one part of a statewide public safety crisis that defies simplistic solutions. At both the local and state levels, the criminal justice system suffers from inadequate and uncoordinated means of tracking and providing services to inmate and parolee populations, perennial and growing shortages of public safety personnel, insufficient space to house inmates and a disconnect between public policy choices and adequate funding to implement policy decisions…
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