Magazine article Corrections Forum

New Thinking for Ailing Prisons

Magazine article Corrections Forum

New Thinking for Ailing Prisons

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Los Angeles Times

The California Department of Corrections hosts the biggest prison population in the country, employs some 46,000 people, and operates on an annual budget of more than $4 billion. The department will soon get a new director, but whether the appointee will come from the existing ranks of department officials or will be a fresh face with new ideas remains to be decided. What is certain about the state's penal system is that it is beset by a host of problems, from technology to violence control, that will not be alleviated until an innovator takes control. Each year, the department uses millions of dollars in taxpayer money to settle lawsuits filed by inmates. Additionally, the prison system under the current management boasts one of the worst records of repeat offense rates in the country. At last count, the rate stood at about 71 percent, which does not reflect well on how the system addresses the problems such as illiteracy and drug addiction underlying many criminal acts. …

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