Overcrowded California Prisons Reach Breaking Point

In an attempt to reduce the number of inmates in already overcrowded prisons, California is starting to make big changes in sentencing. The state has set a goal of reducing the prisoner population by 6,500 out of the current 167,000 current inmates.

One step is to reduce the number of low-level offenders under constant probation supervision. Effectively, probation will shift more resources towards monitoring serious, violent-crime offenders. Lower level offenders who make technical violations of their parole or probation are less likely to return to prison.

Other prisoners may be released for completing rehabilitation programs like drug or education programs. According to one criminologist, the changes demonstrate a "seismic shift" in California’s criminal justice policy.

California, in Financial Crisis, Opens Prison Doors | NY Times

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