Richard Krupp, PhD.
The California state prison population stood at about 132,000 recently; down about 34,000 since 2010; with another 10,000 due for release in the next few months. As Yogi Berra said, “Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.” Three recent news articles provide examples of how well realignment has worked on this road to success.
One of the cornerstones of realignment inmate dumping was to have these non-violent non-serious inmates serve time in county facilities. How is that working out? The Wall Street Journal reports, With Fewer to Lock Up, Prisons Shut Doors.
Roughly 70% of the 2011 decline in state prison rolls was due to a massive drop in California's inmate population…Many of those inmates are now in county jails or other facilities.
According to an article in the Roseville Press Tribune, Placer's jail of the future still sitting empty.
The new South Placer Adult Correctional Facility could keep more criminals behind bars and lessen the county's exposure to prisoner lawsuits….also offer a wider array of rehabilitation programs…lowering recidivism…
Once up and running the facility will have 390 celled beds. The county is working on a plan to open and staff it at a cost of about $21 million annually.
One way county jail inmates currently try to strike out against correctional officers…is by organizing mass coordinated toilet flooding. This has worked in the old jail, but the new facility has automated technology to control how many times the toilets flush.
According to Sheriff's officials, the first full year of realignment saw a noticeable increase in inmate fights, along with gang-fueled prison culture. We've seen a rise in un-served sentences for inmates–instances where jail overcrowding has forced us to just give the prisoner credit for time served.
Another measure of the success of realignment is the impact on community crime rates. If the non-serious, non-violent inmates can be released without a noticeable increase in crime; mission accomplished.
In a Wall Street Journal article, Oakland Struggles to Cope as Crime Surges, Crime is surging in Oakland, bucking a national trend, with murders last year hitting their highest level in six years as the city's police department continued to shrink. Murders were up 22%, burglaries rose 43%, and robberies up 24%.
FBI data for the first half of 2012 show murders, burglaries, and robberies rising statewide in California.
Oakland's police now solve 29% of the homicides compared to 44% in 2009.
Why is crime rising in Oakland? Suggested answers from city officials and “experts” include:
- A large number of people involved in personal conflicts
- Fewer number of police officers
As Yogi Berra said, “We made too many wrong mistakes.” Are the Governor and Legislature incompetent, ignorant, or dishonest? Realignment is just another packaged lie. The purpose of state prison confinement is to keep criminals away from law abiding citizens. It is not to fix the voluntary medical, dental, education and vocational shortcomings of criminals. There are certain things governments must take care of; public safety is the most important; more important than saving money.