By Miriam Raftery
Governor Jerry Brown, in his State of the State Speech in January, praised legislators for casting “difficult votes to cut billions from the state budget. You curbed prison spending through an historic realignment,” he said among other cost-cutting measures listed.
The realignment shifts responsibility for tens of thousands of prisoners from the state to local governments by 2014. The action is fueled in part by a court ruling that ordered California to reduce overcrowding in state prisons by 33,000 prisoners, though the Governor’s move goes further in an effort to cut the budget.
The action, however, shifts responsibilities for those prisoners to local counties and cities. It is also forcing some jurisdictions to release some prisoners early to avert overcrowding in local jails--and raises questions on how best to address the state's crime problems overall.