Realigning Corrections, California Style

The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 664, March 2016

10 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2016

Date Written: March 1, 2016

Abstract

California is currently implementing a prison downsizing experiment of historical significance, and as such provides a critical test case for prison downsizing in America. The California Public Safety Realignment Law (Assembly Bill [AB] 109) shifts responsibility from the state to the counties for tens of thousands of offenders. If it works, California — the nation’s largest state and home to nearly one out of every ten U.S. prisoners — will have shown the nation how to downsize prisons safely by transferring lower-level offenders from state prisons to county systems. If it does not work, counties will be overwhelmed with diverted inmates, unable to operate needed programs, which ultimately results in continued criminality and jail (instead of prison) crowding. In a very real sense, California’s Realignment experiment is giving the rest of the nation a close look at “the day after” significant decarceration.

Keywords: mass incarceration, prison reform, prison downsizing, California prisons, jails, correctional control

Suggested Citation

Petersilia, Joan, Realigning Corrections, California Style (March 1, 2016). The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 664, March 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2754625

Joan Petersilia (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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