LA Times — Nearly 15 months after launching what he called the "boldest move in criminal justice in
decades," Gov. Jerry Brown declared victory over a prison crisis that had appalled federal judges and stumped governors for two decades.
Diverting thousands of criminals from state prisons into county jails and probation departments not only had eased crowding, he said, but also reduced costs, increased safety and improved rehabilitation.
"The prison emergency is over in California," Brown said in early 2013.
The numbers tell a different story.
Today, California is spending nearly $2 billion a year more on incarceration than when Brown introduced his strategy in 2011. The prisons are still overcrowded, and the state has been forced to release inmates early to satisfy federal judges overseeing the system.
Counties, given custody of more than 142,000 felons so far, complain that the state isn't paying full freight for their supervision. Many jails are now overcrowded, and tens of thousands of criminals have been freed to make room for more.
"The charts are sobering," Senate Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) said at a hearing this year on crime, prison costs and inmate numbers. continue reading...