The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has been granted a two-year extension to comply with court-ordered inmate population reductions. This order came from the federal, three-judge panel overseeing the case.
This extension will alter the manner in which the state of California spends funds on reducing the CDCR's inmate population. Previously, funding would have gone toward paying for cells in out-of-state prison facilities to help reduce the abject overcrowding being experienced by California state prisons. Now, the current $315 million -- and proposed FY 2014-2015 $400 million -- allocated for prison population reduction will be spent on "work training, education, living skills, mental health treatment, [and] substance abuse treatment . . . to help [parolees] not re-offend," said H.D. Palmer of California's Department of Finance.
Spending on corrections in the state of California has increased by around $1 billion in the past two years. Most of these additional funds have gone to inmate housing, guard overtime, and prison guards’ salaries.
As a matter of public policy, our sister publication Prison Law Blog and Prison Education News strenuously objects to any type of extension for the CDCR. They have had plenty of time to comply with repeated court orders to reduce their overcrowding. This two-year extension will just result in the unconstitutional overcrowding conditions continuing and harming all of those currently incarcerated within California state prisons. It will be interesting to see if the CDCR manages to reduce their current levels of prison overcrowding by the time the extension runs out or if the same old run-around will continue.
To learn more about this developing story, visit http://external-affairs-news.blogspot.com/.