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Dan Morain: A Risky Shift In Criminal Justice

Publication Date: 
January 08, 2012
The Sacramento Bee
Dan Morain

Professor Joan Petersilia is quoted by Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee on the ever-growing state prison population and how she has "never seen anything like this in California."

Not that many years ago, California legislators worked themselves into a law-and-order frenzy, and with voters' help, infused the justice system with steroids by approving the nation's toughest "three-strikes" sentencing measure.

How the pendulum has swung.

After unrelenting prison growth dating back decades, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a budget last week that would slash $1.1 billion from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, paring its annual budget to $8.7 billion.


"I cannot think of a word that would overstate it," said Stanford professor Joan Petersilia, a criminal justice expert who has long studied California's prison system. "We have never seen anything like this in California."