Monday, October 26, 2009

Why is California Eliminating Rehabilitation?

Yesterday Prof. Aviram posted analysis of the newest Plata/Coleman panel court order. She points out, "The panel wants to hear more about the use of rehabilitation and reentry in the community as a population reduction measure that might actually improve public safety."

So I thought I'd post this cover story from 10/17 last Friday's LA Times. The piece highlights poignant personal stories of incarcerated, and formerly incarcerated, female addicts. It also provides a damning quote from a recent Schwarzenegger insider: "Kathy Jett, formerly Schwarzenegger's top aide for prisoner rehabilitation, said gangs may attempt to fill the void created by the absence of programs."

For purposes of this blog, though, the article also provides some worrisome statistics.
  • Rehab services lose $250 million a year, more than 40% of what they now get and a quarter of the $1 billion total sliced from the prison system.
  • "At the same time, the state is eliminating 45% of the seats in its substance-abuse programs for parolees."
  • The featured rehab provider previously helped 756 women, and will now reach only 175.
These changes seemed almost calculated to increase addiction and recidivism. One might speculate that even the Governor is knowingly passing on the problem of prison overcrowding to the next administration rather than addressing any of its root causes.


Jim Angleton said...

This article comes to mind:

Local Drug Plans Scored

Hadar Aviram said...

Not much has changed since 2001; Prop 5, which was meant to substitute and enhance Prop 36, was voted down in 2008.