California’s Prison Realignment
Date:  05-24-2013

Questions need to be asked, and answered
On a recent “DC Public Safety” show produced by the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), Dr. Joan Petersilia, of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, was interviewed by Leonard A. Sipes, Jr., CSOSA’s Senior Public Affairs Specialist/Social Media Manager. In his announcement of the interview, Sipes listed many of Petersilia’s accomplishments, including the report “Looking Past the Hype: 10 Questions Everyone Should Ask About California’s Prison Realignment,” co-authored with Greenlick Snyder.

California is in the midst of a huge correctional-system mess. With the national trend of “tough on crime” policies and the state’s “Three Strikes” law, California finds itself with a prison system that is so overcrowded that the Federal Court stepped in and demanded that the prison population be reduced by thousands. As the state attempts to comply with the Court's directive, all eyes are on California’s realignment effort.

Petersilia and Snyder write:

“The importance of California’s realignment experiment cannot be overstated. In a nation struggling to rethink its policies over mass incarceration, California’s experiment with prison downsizing is critical. Realignment is testing the major crime policy issue of our time: Can we downsize prisons safely by transferring low-level offenders from state prisons to city and county systems, using an array of evidence-based community alternatives? Depending on the answer, California will become an important example of how to reduce the prison population and maintain public safety – or realignment will go down in history as just another failed attempt at prison diversion.”

Click here to read more.