realignment

Okayplayer.com

  

What will it take to reduce the country's prison population -- now numbering 2.3 million? Monday on City Visions host Joseph Pace and guests discuss the bipartisan #cut50  initiative, which aims to shrink the number of Americans behind bars by 50% in 10 years. We'll also look at the progress California has made under realignment and Prop 47 in keeping its inmate population down, and what more needs to be done.

Photo by California Energy Commission

Arthur Streeter is taking me to meet an inmate who’s going to be released from jail today.

“So we’re going to pick him up and get something to eat,” Streeter tells me, “and then we’re going to go to an emergency shelter that he’ll stay at at International and East Oakland.”

He’s talking about Hayden Hindenburg, who’s been incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail for the last six months. Streeter is the program director for Operation My Hometown, and his job is to help Hindenburg get a good start outside prison walls.

Reentry: Two men seek homes after prison release

Aug 6, 2014
Luisa Beck

A note to our readers: the names of formerly incarcerated men and their families in this story have been changed to protect their identities.

It’s hard to tell how old William Bennett and his friend John Porter are based on looks. Bennett is about six feet tall, wears a silver ear stud, and has a signature cologne: Gypsy Musk. Porter is a little shorter. He has big eyes, a small gap in his upper teeth, and a huge friendly grin. Both of them have a determined and yet playful air about them. When they show me the kitchen they share with 12 other guys, they start the kind of banter that only two trusted friends can get away with.

  

Credit Credit California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

Richard Gilliam is incarcerated at the California Men's Colony (CMC).

August 27, 2012

Imagine you’re 18 years old and you commit a crime. A robbery. You go to prison at one of the only women’s facilities in the state. You get out a year later, on parole – and you’re back in the same neighborhood where you first got in trouble. You commit another crime. And the cycle starts all over again. That’s what happened to Courtney Samson.

Thirty years ago, the state spent three percent of its general fund dollars on corrections and prisons. Today it spends more than 11 percent – that’s $10 billion running the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

In 2011, when Governor Brown took office, he inherited a massive corrections problem. The state's 33 prisons were at nearly 200 percent capacity, and the recidivism rate was running at 70 percent. The federal courts stepped in and ordered California to reduce its overcrowded prisons by more than 30,000 people.

Image courtesy of Flickr user http://www.flickr.com/photos/spike55151/

A note to our readers: the names of incarcerated men in this story have been changed to protect their identities.

At the moment, Bill Johnson is wearing an orange t-shirt, orange pants, and wrist shackles. He’s sitting in an interview room in the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno.

Not too long ago, the men now sitting around a table at the Contra Costa Probation Office were in prison. “I want to ask how long have you been in prison,” Chief Adult Probation Officer Philip Kader asks them. They respond with three, six and even 12 times.

The personal trials and political tribulations of San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi are getting plenty of attention at present, but county jails are in the news for another reason. California prison realignment is shifting inmates from state to county facilities, which are receiving $1.2 billion to help with the transition.

On today's Your Call we’ll talk about what’s changing in California’s prison system.  The Occupy Movement drew attention to the prison industrial complex this week with a day of action called “Occupy the Prisons.”  They are calling for an end to inhumane conditions for people behind bars.  Meanwhile, the realignment process is underway in California-- where low-level offenders are being moved from prisons to county jails.  Is this the best way to solve prison over-crowding?