Krupp Files: Walking the Realignment fogline

Sep 21st, 2012 | By | Category: Krupp Files, Realignment, Sex Offenders, Spotlight

Jumping into the Fog

Twist the structure of your average day

Richard Krupp. PhD.

According to the recent ACLU report,Public Safety Realignment, California at a Crossroads,

  • Widespread jail expansion is not necessary to protect public safety or hold individuals accountable for criminal behavior.

  • Counties can take the smarter, evidence-based path and implement cost-effective alternatives to incarceration that will reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

The Chief Probation Officer of San Francisco said, “The realignment sky is not falling in San Francisco….there are bad guys that are going to do some bad things.”

A system in which crimes are not crimes, victims are not even mentioned and criminals stay in the community, is ass-backwards. One purpose of the criminal justice system is to keep criminals out of circulation so they don’t prey on law abiding citizens. According to California Penal Code Section, 1170 (a)(1), “The Legislature finds and declares the purpose of imprisonment for crime is punishment.”

In every country, state, and local community there is always a portion of the population that breaks the law. The proportion may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but for the most part there are always criminals. It is not possible to eliminate crime or criminals. A portion of those criminals need to be kept away from the law abiding citizens for varying lengths of time.

Efforts to rehabilitate criminals have never been as successful as old age and death. Incarceration is always a better way to keep criminals from committing more crimes than community supervision. However, we are apparently stuck with the dumping of criminals through the fog of realignment and it’s about to get worse.

According to the Los Angeles Times on September 7, 2012, “This Court is not inclined to permit re-litigation of the proper population cap at this time,” federal jurists said in an order issued Friday. But they said they would consider extending the state’s deadline until the end of 2013 — an additional four months — if California provides plans for reaching the judges’ goal.” That will put a twist in the structure of your average day if you work in the department of corrections or more importantly live in a California community with growing crime.

California’s solution to reduce prison overcrowding, costs, and recidivism, is a plan to help comply with court orders relative to inmate medical care. To believe any of this is possible requires a leap of faith. As with most political solutions the problem and new direction has to be packaged and sold to the public as something that sounds good; if you don’t look too close or ask too many questions. Releasing tens of thousands of criminals to the community becomes “realignment of low-level offenders.”

Make no mistake, thousands of criminals who have been on probation, in treatment, and served time in county jail before are now being released from prison and sometimes avoiding prison to start the cycle over. That necessarily means more victims, more arrests, prosecutions and incarceration.

Some of the centralized problems prisons have been dealing with are being dumped on the counties. County jails, many of which are also under population caps, will also see growth relative to inmate medical and time in-cell problems; lawsuits in the making. The jails were not designed for long term inmates. Jail inmates will be growing in criminal sophistication and all the associated problems.

One of the keystones of the realignment plan assumes inmates will be cured through drug treatment program efforts. A 2005 survey of 8,000 California prison inmates participating in drug treatment programs found 60% had already failed in community and county jail programs. The vast majority went on to fail in the prison and aftercare programs.

What happens if the inmates are not cured and we are stuck with the inmate cap; which apparently we are? At the present time the California prison population looks like this:


Population Type

Total Inmates
Murder 1 & 2 22,000
Manslaughter 4,000
Sex Offenses 15,000
Kidnap 3,000
Robbery, ADW 33,000
Burglary 1st 7,000
2nd & 3rd Strikers 41,000
Misc 8,000
TOTAL 133,000


Depending on what you read, the court imposed population cap is either 110,000 or 112,000. The cap must be met by either June or December, 2013. How is that going to happen? If the 8,000 miscellaneous inmates are released there is still a gap of 13-15,000 inmates. Will violent crimes be magically changed to non-violent? What if some of the realigned make a return visit to prison? What if more criminals are knocking at the front door than there are criminals sneaking out the back door?

If intake increases there are three options:

  1. Build more prison bed capacity.
  2. Increase the inmate population cap.
  3. Let more inmates out of prison that are outside established criteria.

Can we take another leap of faith? If the structure of the realignment plan is based on bad assumptions what is the fall back plan? At some point a horrific crime will take place that will be the undoing of this mess. The only question comes in two parts; how many victims will line the path and how soon will it be brought to light?

Wombats: Jump into the fog

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8 Comments to “Krupp Files: Walking the Realignment fogline”

  1. Howie Katz says:

    If I counted correctly, it would appear that at least 77,000 inmates in California’s state prisons do not qualify as ‘non-violent, non-serious’ offenders. It sure looks like the feds are fucking the law abiding citizens of California big time!

    • Richard Krupp says:

      I believe in the groupings I listed you can probably only find some of the “Nons” in the Misc group of 8,000. The others are serious or violent or sex crimes.

      • Howie Katz says:

        OK, Dr. Krupp, that would make it at least 125,000 inmates that do not fit the bill of ‘non-violent, non-serious’ offenders. All I can say is that when the federal court orders on prison overcrowding are finally carried out, every Californian should turn his or her home into an armed fortress.

        • Richard Krupp says:

          You hit the nail on the head.

          As per the Wombats….. Drop your map, drop your plans, drop your five step program because there’s not an ounce of faith in this leap.

          • Richard Krupp says:

            To clarify….The 125,000 are serious and violent. If the 8,000 Misc are released then 10-15,000 serious or violent criminals would need to be released to meet the inmate population cap

  2. Whetto says:

    Great article Richard Krupp. I honestly believe that the Amend AB 109 crowd is beginning to gain traction. It’s too bad that everything written about Proposition 30 barely even mentions realignment. Voters are being scared into saving their schools, community colleges, and universities by voting for Prop. 30. But, if schools, colleges, and universities are really your concern Proposition 38 might be more appealing.

  3. Bob Walsh says:

    The warm-and-fuzzies honestly believe that criminality can be cured by a polite, subtle application of the mantra of the day. They really believe it. They feel in their bones it MUST be true because being judgmental is just SO wrong. All we have to do is fund their programs adequately and all would be sweetness and light. Being a liberal means never having to say you were wrong, because you never are. How you FEEL about an issue is what is important. Actual positive outcome is completely immaterial.

  4. kl2008a says:

    When all the judges, politicians, bleeding hearts and their family members are seriously injured or even killed as prey to the predators then they may suddenly awaken from their pipedream and see that their “cost-effective alternatives to incarceration” does not work. Until then, all us regular shmucks will have to suffer their misaligned decisions.