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California Counties Undermine Prison Efforts

Publication Date: 
March 08, 2014
USA Today (AP)

Michael Romano, director of the Three Strikes Project, weighs in on the possible reasons for increases in state prison population for USA Today.

California counties are confounding the state's court-ordered efforts to sharply reduce its inmate population by sending state prisons far more convicts than anticipated, including a record number of people with second felony convictions.

The surge in offenders requiring state prison sentences is undermining a nearly 3-year-old law pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation restructured California's criminal justice system to keep lower-level felons in county jails while reserving state prison cells for serious, violent and sexual offenders.


Michael Romano, director of Stanford Law School's Three Strikes Project, said other factors also are likely driving the increase. His group promoted a successful initiative in 2012 that modified what was then the nation's toughest repeat offender law so that only a violent or serious third felony would lead to a life sentence.