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California Prison Officials Move To Overhaul System

Publication Date: 
April 23, 2012
Source: 
The Sacramento Bee
Author: 
Sam Stanton

Professor Joan Petersilia spoke with The Sacramento Bee's Sam Stanton on California's "unprecedented" pace in the downsizing of its prison system over the last six months.

Aided by a rapid decline in the state's inmate population, California prison officials are proposing a dramatic change in the way they do business and moving to take control of the system back from the federal courts.

In a plan announced Monday to close one prison, revamp others and scrap most of a $6 billion prison construction plan, officials say they will save the state billions of dollars in coming years.

...

"I think everybody is pretty astonished at the downsizing of California prisons, I don't think anybody thought it would happen this fast ...," said Joan Petersilia, a Stanford University law professor who has spent more than three decades studying prison issues.

"No state has ever seen a downsizing in prisons like we've had in the last six months in California. It really is unprecedented."