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New California Prison System Plan

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Sacramento, CA — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today released a plan to cut billions in spending, comply with federal court orders for inmate health care and improve the operation of California’s prison system. The plan is titled “The Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Oversight, and Improve the Prison System.”

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate says, “This plan will go a long way towards making our correctional system more efficient and secure and, at the same time, lower our high recidivism rates.”

According to CDCR’s blog the plan will:

  • Reduce CDCR’s annual budget by more than $1.5 billion
  • Close the California Rehabilitation Center saving $160 million dollars
  • Eliminate $4.1 billion in construction projects that are no longer needed because of population reductions
  • Eliminate $2.2 billion annually that would have been spent had Realignment not been implemented
  • Return all out-of-state inmates by 2016
  • Satisfy the U.S. Supreme Court’s order to lower the state’s prison population
  • Satisfy the federal courts that CDCR has achieved and maintained constitutional levels of medical, mental health and dental care to avoid costly oversight
  • Incorporate a standardized staffing formula to better manage staff levels and cost
  • Improve the classification system to provide proper inmate housing placement and reduce the reliance on costly high-security facilities.

When realignment is fully implemented, CDCR expenditures will drop by 18 percent overall.

CDCR has responded to a string of class-action lawsuits dating back to 1990 challenging the levels of medical, mental health and dental care for inmates. In 2006, federal courts appointed a federal court-appointed Receiver to bring health care up to constitutional standards. Mental health care is overseen by a Special Master and dental care is monitored by Court Experts.

Mental health bed waiting lists that were once hundreds of patients long have fallen sharply or been eliminated. 30 out of 33 prisons passed audits of their dental program, the remainder expected to pass soon.

Many of the improvements are due to the reduction in prison overcrowding made possible by Public Safety Realignment signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. last year.

Since Public Safety Realignment took effect, CDCR’s offender population has dropped by approximately 22,000 inmates and 16,000 parolees.

“Realignment has given California a historic opportunity to invest in a prison system that is not just less crowded, but more efficient, while saving billions of state taxpayer dollars,” said Cate.

To see the 244 page plan, “The Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Oversight, and Improve the Prison System” click: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/2012plan/docs/plan/complete.pdf

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