New ACLU Report on Costly Realignment - Counties Ignoring Cheaper, Better Alternatives
California may be dismantling its prison-industrial complex, but it’s quickly replacing it with a jail-industrial complex, a new report released late Tuesday warns.
The state’s prison population has plummeted — by 22,440 inmates, or about 15 percent — since October, according to the report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. That’s when the state responded to a court order to reduce overcrowding by adopting realignment, which shifts responsibility to counties for imprisoning and rehabilitating nonviolent felons.
But now, according to the ACLU, the state is funneling billions of dollars to counties, much of it for building or expanding jails, instead of for cheaper alternatives
called for in the realignment law — including electronic monitoring, drug treatment and vocational training. The report is the first comprehensive critique of realignment since the massive plan was adopted six months ago.
“The state says locking people up hasn’t worked,” said Allen Hopper, police practices director of the ACLU of Northern California. “But on the other hand, it turns over billions to maintain the status quo,” he said.