A few years ago, a panel of federal judges ordered California to reduce its prison population. To obey the order, state lawmakers approved a prison realignment plan offered by Governor Jerry Brown. It sends nonviolent offenders to county jails instead of prison. State prisons officials say the law is working.
“By implementing realignment, the state prison population has fallen significantly,” says Jeffrey Callison with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “This is helping to comply with the federal court order.”
Callison says the number of post-realignment offenders returning to prison is down 25 percent since realignment. And that’s helped reduce the overall prison population by about 25,000. The state still has to bring the total prison population down by several thousand more inmates to fully comply with the federal order.