Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Realignment: Potential and Pitfalls

Photo courtesy Jamie Soja for SF Weekly.
Today's SF Weekly features a detailed story by Lauren Smiley about rehabilitative initiatives for realignment inmates in San Francisco jails, complete with data, anecdotes, and an interview with yours truly. To whet your appetite about the story:

Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a three-judge ruling that California must reduce its overcrowded prisons to 137.5 percent of capacity by mid-2013, down from a peak of 202 percent capacity in 2006. That meant siphoning out about 34,000 prisoners, enough inmates to nearly fill the Oakland A's stadium.

The state came up with a plan: Nobody gets out of prison early, but less-serious offenders would be sentenced to county jail, and the supervision of certain criminals released from prison would be moved from state parole agents to county probation officers. That means that if these ex-cons violate the terms of their release, they will be booked into county jail, not prison.

Voilà: Prisoner numbers are down for the state. The prisons are currently on track to meet the deadline, at 164 percent capacity and descending.

So San Francisco will now attempt what the state corrections system failed at: rehabbing Nate Bracy. It will try to override 17 years of criminal behavior and to get him — and the 700 others who will arrive in San Francisco over the next two years — to live like your average Joe Citizen.

No comments: